33 High-Potential Woman Entrepreneurs Win M3 1000 Competition

PHILADELPHIA (Press Release – November 15, 2011) – M3 1000, the latest evolution of the groundbreaking Make Mine a Million $ Business (M3) program, an initiative of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and American Express OPEN, has announced the newest M3 1000 awardee class of up-and-coming women entrepreneurs. The 33 women honorees, representing 10 different states and all aspiring to grow their post start-up enterprises into million-dollar firms, were selected as part of the second-ever M3 1000 pitch event, held on September 26, 2011 in Philadelphia.

Built on the lessons learned over the past six years through more than 20 M3 competitions held nationwide and the movement’s growing community of successful women business leaders, M3 1000 is designed to help women entrepreneurs strengthen their vision, build their strategy and take their business past one million dollars in revenue.

The recent M3 1000 competition marks the initiative’s first visit to the “Keystone State” and the host city and state are well represented in the awardee group, with six winning businesses based in Philadelphia and 26 from Pennsylvania. Other winning business owners hail from as far away as Texas, Colorado and California.

“Make Mine a Million $ Business was reinvented into M3 1000 for one main purpose: to help a greater number of women entrepreneurs grow their businesses into million-dollar enterprises,” said Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In. “Through tools, inspiration, and a community of supporters, we are helping this new class of 33 awardees take their companies to the next level, and we look forward to working with them on that journey.”

The Philadelphia event featured keynote addresses from famed entrepreneurs Jen Groover, media mogul and business expert; and Lisa Price, founder of the Carol’s Daughter beauty products line; and included educational sessions focusing on business financials, social media and leadership. The event yielded 44 pitch competition winners from which the 33 M3 awardees were chosen, based on additional analysis involving financials, business plans and reference reviews.

“The Philadelphia event awardees represent the promise, determination, and potential of female entrepreneurs everywhere,” said Karen-Michelle Mirko, director of customer advocacy at American Express OPEN. “Through M3 1000, we at OPEN are hoping to inspire more of the 8.1 million women-owned businesses across the country to strive for million-dollar outcomes. Small businesses have the power to drive this economy. Their success is America’s success.”

As M3 awardees, each of the winners are eligible to receive group coaching and training sessions with other Philadelphia awardees; a one year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP); an invitation to join the exclusive M3 online networking group; and special consideration for additional national and local public relations opportunities. The honorees already received a $1000 American Express(R) Gift Card and an introductory cycle of professional coaching with The Coach Connection as a result of being named a pitch competition winner.

The following 33 women, whose current revenue mean was $208,000, were selected as the second M3 1000 awardee class based on their ability to build significant and sustainable companies with the growth potential to achieve $1 million or more in annual revenues.

Audra Fordin, What women AUTO know

Beverly Rossi,  Graphic Matter Inc.

Brittany Jones Hodak, ZinePak

Colleen Mook, Baby Be Hip

Dana Lucero, The Dana Agency, LTD

Dawn Lewis, Caffe Craze Co.

Doreen Foxwell, The Children’s School of Yoga

Elizabeth Whelan, Design Studio

Gen Anderson, Gen’s Guiltless Gourmet

Heather McCloskey, McCloskey Partners, LLC

Joan Denizot, Super Sized Cycles

Judy Weintraub, Weintraub Legal Services

Karen Moustafellos, EnA Elements and Alloys Inc.

Katherine Hughes, Dance Yourself Fit LLC

Katie Gutierrez Miller, Assistant Match

Linda Della Rocca, Image Enterprises, Inc.

Margit Novack, Moving Solutions

Maria Grazia, Eco Zip

Marilyn Walker, Synergize, LLC

Mary Scheetz, Consulting Concepts & Innovations

Meaghan Dunn, Dunnamic

Melanie Hoffman, Brandnu Marketing, LLC

Meredith Pizzi, Roman Music Therapy Services

Nancy Vinkler, WSI We Simplify the Internet

Patricia Scott, Uhmms

Rebecca Rescate, CitiKitty Inc.

Robin Whitsell, Whitsell Innovations, Inc

Starr Osborne, Tailored Transitions

Suzanne Curran, SC Consulting, LLC

Tina Van Buren, Embrook Benefits Consulting, LLC

Tracey Deschaine, Dixie Picnic

Valerie Erwin, Geechee Girl Rice Cafe

Valerie Link, Four Paws Inc.

An assortment of past Make Mine a Million $ Business awardees, including Rosana Santos, owner of BIG CHEF, a Hollywood, FL, hors d’oeuvres company and Rupila Sethi, president of Aerial Design and Build, a New York City-based design consulting and general construction business, who both grew their businesses over a million dollars in revenue for the first time this year, were on hand to show their support to the competing women entrepreneurs and personify the objective of the program.

About Count Me In

Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education and community support for women entrepreneurs seeking to grow micro businesses to million dollar enterprises. Count Me In launched Make Mine a Million $ Business to inspire one million women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to a million dollars in revenue by providing tools, skills and the support of a nation-wide community of peers.

About American Express OPEN

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at www.OPEN.com and connect with us at openforum.com and twitter.com/openforum.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at www.americanexpress.com and connect with us on www.facebook.com/americanexpress, www.twitter.com/americanexpress and www.youtube.com/americanexpress.

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