Make Mine a Million $ Business(TM) Program to Help Texas Women Entrepreneurs Build Million Dollar Enterprises

The Make Mine a Million $ BusinessTM Program has added five new members to its growing community of women entrepreneurs committed to growing million-dollar operations. The Texas-based entrepreneurs were selected out of a group of 10 finalists to take home awards packages containing money, marketing, mentoring and technology resources. Texas is among the first states to support a new state-based strategy implemented by the Make Mine a Million $ Business program to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses. The program took place in conjunction with the 2007 Texas Conference for Women, hosted by Governor Rick Perry and First Lady Anita Perry.

Each of the ten finalists delivered rousing elevator pitches in front of a live audience and a panel of judges who all voted on the winners. Since the beginning of the program, 92 women have been selected as Make Mine a Million $ Business awardees, from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. These women will inspire others to join the more than 30,000 women entrepreneurs who have declared their intent to build million dollar enterprises.

The Make Mine a Million $ Business program gives women across the nation confidence and tangible tools to build successful enterprises, said Michelle Thompson-Dolberry, director, advocacy marketing at OPEN from American Express®. The success of these businesses can help fuel the US economy in terms of growth and job creation.

Launched in 2005 by Count Me In for Womens Economic Independence and founding partner OPEN from American Express, Make Mine a Million $ Business was created for post-start up women-owned businesses to achieve the million dollar milestone, a benchmark only 3% of women-owned businesses have met. One of the programs goals is to encourage 1 million women entrepreneurs to declare their intent to build million-dollar businesses by 2010.

Texas is home to the second largest concentration of women-owned businesses in the country, and Austin ranks 20th among the country's 75 largest metropolitan cities as excellent environments for small business.* There are a total of 676,296 women-owned enterprises in Texas, but only 17,844 (2.6%) exceed $1 million in revenue. The Make Mine a Million $ Business program is committed to closing this gap. When one million women grow their businesses to $1 million, the economic impact on the state will be substantial, contributing $73 billion in additional economic activity and creating almost 390,000 new jobs**.

Our grassroots efforts reach a wide spectrum of women entrepreneurs who can improve their communities by growing their businesses, said Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In. These Texas awardees are remarkable entrepreneurs who will inspire others to dream big and build successful enterprises.

The Austin Awardees

The following five women were selected as new members of the Make Mine a Million $ Business program based on their ability to build significant and sustainable companies with the growth potential to achieve $1 million or more in annual revenues.

  • Carolyn Morse of Houston-based PowerLung Inc. (www.powerlung.com), developer of threshold resistance training machines for the respiratory (breathing) muscles;
  • Lelani Craig of Sugar Land-based CommGap (www.commgap.com), a comprehensive language services company that offers complete document translations and spoken word interpretation services;
  • Gayla Bentley of Houston-based Gayla Bentley, LP (www.gaylabentley.com), a company that designs and markets a collection of women's apparel and accessories for women with curves;
  • Jan Moye of Flower Mound-based Moye I.T. Consulting (www.moye-it.com), an engineering design firm specializing in low-voltage systems, including structured cabling systems, fiber-optic networks and building IT systems;
  • Cynthia Rubio of Austin-based Radiant RFID (www.radiantrfid.com), a certified RFID solutions provider for tracking assets such as people, equipment, and inventory.

The Make Mine a Million $ Business program has garnered support from organizations who are all joining hands in order to make an impact in womens lives and strengthening the US economy. The impressive list of blue-chip national sponsors include OPEN from American Express, AIG®, Cisco®, FedEx®, QVC®, Jet Blue®, Marriot®, and Dell®. Sponsors provide an array products and services that serve as invaluable tools for growth.

Award packages for the Make Mine a Million $ Business winners include:

  • Coaching, financing and inspiration from Count Me In;
  • Up to $50,000 in financing, a financial evaluation, and participation in marketing campaigns from OPEN from American Express;
  • PR and marketing assistance paid for by AIG;
  • A technology assessment for all awardees and a Smart Business Communication network from Cisco Systems valued at up to $20,000 for a select awardee;
  • Discounts from FedEx on select shipping, office, and print services;
  • A marketing consultation from QVC;
  • A $500 credit for hotel stays at any Marriott in the U.S.;
  • A Vostro notebook, built exclusively for small business valued up to $1,000 from Dell;
  • A round trip flight to any of Jet Blues 50 destinations from Jet Blue Airlines.

The next Make Mine a Million $ Business event will be held in Burbank, CA on January 23, 2008. For more information about how women can grow their businesses please visit www.makemineamillion.org.

About Count Me In

Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of on-line business loans and resources for women to grow their micro businesses into $million enterprises. Find us at www.countmein.org or call 212-245-1245.

About OPEN from American Express

OPEN from American Express is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. OPEN supports business owners with unparalleled service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPENSM, visit OPEN.com, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.

American Express Company (www.americanexpress.com) is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

* Data source: US Census Bureau. Methodology.Published June 2007. Prepared by Bizjournals.

** Data source: US Census Bureau. Economic Census, Survey of Business Owners: Women-Owned Firms, 2002. Published January 2006. (SB02-00CS-WMN). Prepared by Julie Weeks, President and CEO of Womenable, www.womenable.com.

Contacts:

M Booth & Associates for Count-Me-In and
OPEN from American Express
Daniel Urzedo, 212-481-7000
danielu@mbooth.com
or
OPEN from American Express
Rosa M. Alfonso, 212-640-1712
rosa.m.alfonso@aexp.com

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