The Make Mine a Million $ Business program, a national grassroots movement empowering women to grow their businesses, selected its newest class of awardees on June 4, 2008 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. A standing-room-only crowd of more than 500 women from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania witnessed as ten new women were chosen to receive growth-focused resources and mentoring as part of the Make Mine a Million $ Business award.
Launched in 2005 by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources and business education for women entrepreneurs, and founding partner American Express OPEN®, Make Mine a Million $ Business is the only program dedicated to helping post-start-up women-owned businesses reach $1 million in revenues.
Make our Daughters a Million
Mayor of Newark, Cory Booker, ignited the all-day business program with a speech about the crucial contributions women entrepreneurs make in their communities. With the launch of the Make Mine a Million $ Business program’s newest initiative, Make Our Daughters a Million, the movement extended its reach to the next generation of women business owners. Make Our Daughters a Million provides high school and college age women with interactive workshops on entrepreneurship designed exclusively for young women. Participants receive tips on networking skills, business basics, goal-setting, professional etiquette and more. Make Our Daughters a Million is building upon the movement begun by Count Me In founder Nell Merlino, who created Take Our Daughters to Work Day in 1993.
“Many women in our Make Mine a Million $ Business community say they wish they had started their businesses sooner,” said Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In. “The more young women see successful role models, the more they'll believe in their own ability to start a business and change the world.”
Twenty women from New York and New Jersey were selected to compete in Newark and each delivered persuasive “elevator pitches” to a live audience and a panel of judges who later voted to select ten awardees. These entrepreneurs raise the total class of Make Mine a Million $ Business awardees across the US to 132, including 29 who crossed the million dollar threshold in 2007, thanks in part to the resources and support of the Make Mine a Million $ Business program.
Among the ten awardees was local New Jersey entrepreneur Nadine Vogel, who won the crowd over with a heartwarming story about her two beautiful daughters with special needs and how they served as an inspiration to start a business that will help corporate America better understand the special needs community.
The judges and audience also had a sweet tooth for banker turned baker, Rachel Thebault, who started “thinking inside the (bakery) box” when she opened her NYC-based bakery Tribeca Treats. Her downtown sweets shop combines high-end baked goods, handmade chocolates, and a boutique with bakeware, party goods and frozen cookie dough.
The following ten women were selected as Make Mine a Million $ Business awardees based on their ability to build a $1 million business within two years.
- Faith Baum of Bloomfield, NJ-based Illumination Arts LLC (www.illuminationarts.com), an architectural lighting design firm
- Nadine Vogel of Mendham, NJ-based Springboard Consulting LLC (www.consultspringboard.com), which works with global corporations to appropriately market their products and services to people with disabilities and their families
- Sharon Brown of Newark, NJ-based EOSS, Inc. (www.eossinc.com), a full service engineering firm that offers environmental, and health and safety solutions to real estate developers and businesses as well as state and federal governments
- Tamara Mangum-Thomas of Newark, NJ-based Sharpened Image, Inc. (www.sharpenedimage.com), a Human Resource Management Solutions provider designed to enhance workplace productivity
- Adele Horowitz of Brooklyn, NY-based Licenders, Inc. (www.licenders.com), the largest lice removal service in the Northeast
- Kathryn Gorman of Stony Brook, NY-based Gorman Glass & Mirror L.L.C. (www.gormansglass.com), which specializes in custom glass installations; including commercial storefronts, custom residential applications, as well as unique vases, plaques, and other custom pieces
- Erica Lyon and Caryn Neary Delgaizo of New York, NY-based Realbirth Education Center (www.realbirth.com), a multifaceted operation focused on the needs of urban couples both preconception and post partum
- Robin Wilson of New York, NY-based Robin Wilson Home (www.robinwilsonhome.com), a pioneer in the eco-friendly design area with a focus on the eco-healthy home and lifestyle offering interior and exterior design services to both commercial and residential clients
- Victoria Campos of Huntington Station, NY-based Law Office of Victoria Campos, which provides legal services specifically focused on immigration
- Rachel Thebault of New York, NY-based Tribeca Treats (www.tribecatreats.com), a specialty bakery and chocolatier serving upscale comfort deserts and confections with a modern twist
“Success is contagious and leadership inspires future leaders,” said Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN. “These are the lessons we learn from the 50,000 entrepreneurs who make up the Make Mine a Million $ Business community, one third of whom has a parent, grandparent or other close relative who owned their own business.”
Make Mine a Million $ Business provides a proven combination of money, mentoring, marketing and technology tools that women entrepreneurs need to help grow their businesses. With a growing community of more than 50,000 women entrepreneurs from across the country, the dynamic movement’s ultimate goal is to inspire one million women entrepreneurs to declare their intent to build million-dollar enterprises. Achieving this goal would provide an enormous stimulus to the US economy and create more than 4 million new jobs and $700 billion in economic activity.
Throughout the event, attendees had access to business brilliance and educational workshops featuring keynote speakers, seasoned entrepreneurs and experts in finance, marketing and technology.
Newark served as the launching pad for Count Me In’s newest business resource, “Business Answers”, a revolutionary online program that connects all the lessons, tools and support a woman entrepreneur needs to solve her business problems today and prepares her for the challenges she may face tomorrow, underwritten by AIG. From talking cash flow templates to employee manual samples to videos of women entrepreneurs sharing their personal stories and advice, “Business Answers” is unlike any other business tool available because it is built for women entrepreneurs by women entrepreneurs to address their primary needs. “It’s important that AIG, as a financial services company, works with partners like Count Me In who can provide valuable information to women entrepreneurs and we hope that this site becomes the destination for women entrepreneurs throughout the country,” said Ned Cloonan, Vice President of International and Corporate Affairs, AIG.
Major corporations including American Express OPEN®, AIG, Dell, Cisco, FedEx, and JetBlue, are important sponsors of the Make Mine a Million $ Business movement. They contribute to the awards package with products, services and discounts in the areas of financing, technology, shipping, travel/lodging, and insurance to help propel women over the $1 million mark.
- Inspiration, community, coaching and mentoring from Count Me In
- Lending package in the form of a Platinum Business Cash Rebate Credit Card, a financial health analysis to inform business growth decisions, and promotion in national marketing and media campaigns from American Express OPEN®
- A Financial Makeover and Spa Gift Basket from AIG – a holistic diagnosis from a personal financial coach to secure your future.
- Technology assessment for all awardees and a Cisco Systems® Smart Business Communications package valued up to $20,000 for a select awardee
- Discounts from FedEx® select shipping and office and print services
- Round trip flight voucher for any of the 54 cities JetBlue flies to.
- $1000 Shopping Spree from Dell
Upcoming Make Mine a Million $ Business Events:
Albuquerque, New Mexico - September 18, 2008
|Open to women business owners in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah|
Charlotte, North Carolina - October 7, 2008
|Open to women business owners in North Carolina|
Trumbull, Connecticut - October 16, 2008
|Open to women business owners in Connecticut|
Columbus, Ohio - November 21, 2008
|Open to women business owners in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky|
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida - December 11, 2008
|Open to women business owners Nationwide|
To apply or join the Make Mine a Million $ Business community, 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 business education, resources and community support for women entrepreneurs to grow micro businesses to million dollar enterprises. Count Me In launched the Make Mine a Million $ Business™ and Micro to Millions™ programs to inspire women entrepreneurs to build sustainable enterprises, create jobs and develop innovative products and services. For more information visit www.countmein.org or call 212.245-1245.
About American Express OPEN
American Express OPEN is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. OPEN supports business owners with exceptional 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.
About American International Group, Inc. (AIG)
American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a world leader in insurance and financial services, is the leading international insurance organization with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional and individual customers through the most extensive worldwide property-casualty and life insurance networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of retirement services, financial services and asset management around the world. AIG’s common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the stock exchanges in Ireland and Tokyo.