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Make Mine a Million $ Business(TM) Program Awards Ten Women Entrepreneurs at Marquee New York Event

New York Women are Leading the Way for a Community of More Than 30,000 who Have Declared Their Intent to Build Million-Dollar Enterprises Awardees Receive Money, Marketing, Mentoring and Technology Tools Necessary to Help Grow Their Businesses.

Company Release - 11/19/2007 10:15 AM ET

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Ten women entrepreneurs are now poised to break through the million-dollar barrier after winning Make Mine a Million $ Business Awards at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University in New York City. The event was held on October 23rd, marking the third year in a row a Make Mine a Million $ Business (www.makemineamillion.org) competition was held in Manhattan. This year's program was highlighted by rousing keynote speeches from CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo and Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg. The diverse group of successful and inspiring winning business owners came from around the country; three were from New York City. Each awardee receives money, marketing, mentoring, and technology assistance to help their businesses grow into million-dollar enterprises.

Launched in 2005 by Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence and founding partner OPEN from American Express(R), the Make Mine a Million $ Business (M3) program was created to help post-start up, women-owned businesses grow to one million dollars in annual revenue. Since the inception, the program has hosted 11 competitions in cities around the country and grown into a nationwide movement. Over 700 applications were submitted for this year's New York competition from which 20 finalists were selected to compete. Winners were selected after each women business owner delivered a pitch to a live audience and panel of judges who collaborated on the selection process.

"The growth of this program mirrors the growth of our entrepreneurs' businesses and the New York event exemplifies how far we all have come," said Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In. "In the same way women business owners are innovating to bring new products and services to market, we are innovating in the ways we help them grow."

"There are more than 10 million women-owned businesses in this country, each with a distinct vision," said Susan Sobbott, President of OPEN from American Express. "By joining the M3 movement, women business owners are reaffirming their vision, declaring their intent to build million dollar enterprises and joining a community of like minded peers to help them succeed"

With the addition of this year's New York winners, the number of Make Mine a Million $ Business awardees has grown to 100. Ten awardees have already surpassed one million dollars in annual revenue and 30 more are projected to reach the million-dollar level this year. Twenty-three awardees have come from the tri-state area, including three that have already broken the million-dollar barrier. Thirty-thousand women entrepreneurs have joined the Make Mine a Million $ Business community and declared their intent to build million-dollar enterprises.

There are a total of 634,599 women-owned enterprises in New York, third most in the nation, but only 16,744 (2.6%) exceed $1 million in revenue*. The Make Mine a Million $ Business program is committed to closing this gap. One of the program's goals is to encourage one million women entrepreneurs to declare their intent to build million-dollar businesses by 2010. When one million women grow their businesses to $1 million, the economic impact on the state will be substantial, contributing $69.1 billion in additional economic activity and creating almost 470,000 new jobs*.

New York Awardees

The following 10 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.

    --  Michelle Madhok of NYC-based SheFinds.com (www.shefinds.com),
        an online media company that provides content and discussion
        around practical and functional fashion and style purchases;

    --  Julia Goldman of NYC-based The Original Runner Company
        (www.originalrunners.com), makes the first non-slip fabric
        aisle runners in the world;

    --  Sarah Endline of NYC-based sweetriot, Inc.
        (www.sweetriot.com), manufactures healthy, natural, and
        socially responsible sweets;

    --  Jennifer McKinley of Charlestown, MA-based Plank LLC
        (www.plankdesigns.com), produces a patented yoga mat, high end
        bags (totes, messenger bags, etc.) that have yoga-mat carrying
        functionality, bamboo fibre towels and robes;

    --  Natalie Boden of Miami, FL-based BodenPR (www.bodenpr.com), a
        boutique PR firm that develops communications campaigns for
        both the general and U.S. Hispanic markets.

    --  Leah Brown of Cary, NC-based Aten Solutions, Inc. (A10)
        (www.atensolutions.com), provides highly skilled clinical
        trials support professionals to global biotech and
        pharmaceutical companies, as well as government agencies and
        academic medical centers both domestically and
        internationally;

    --  Stephanie McCutchan of Scottsdale, AZ-based Andorra Credit
        Repair Corp. (www.andorracreditrepair.com), provides credit
        education and repair services to consumers who are trying to
        obtain home financing or trying to refinance their current
        mortgage;

    --  Nancy Tanchel of Vienna, VA-based Liberty Laser Eye Center.
        (www.sweetriot.com), conducts refractive surgery - services to
        help patients eliminate their glasses and/or contact lenses;

    --  Monica Tomasso of Falls Church, VA-based Health e-Lunch Kids
        (www.healthelunchkids.com), provides healthy and delicious
        lunches to kids at school each day;

    --  Susan Wilson of Stevensville, MD-based The Judgment Group
        (www.judgmentgroup.com), a professional judgment enforcement
        firm that offers creditors a solution to get their delinquent
        accounts litigated, enforced and paid

The Make Mine a Million $ Business program has garnered support from organizations who are all joining hands in order to make an impact in women's lives and strengthening the US economy. The impressive list of blue-chip national sponsors include OPEN from American Express, AIG(R), Cisco(R), FedEx(R), QVC(R), Jet Blue(R), Marriot(R), and Dell(R). 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(TM), built exclusively for small business
        valued up to $1,000 from Dell

    --  A round trip flight to any of Jet Blue's 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 OPEN(SM), 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. 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.

Source: OPEN from American Express

Contact: Media M Booth & Associates for Count Me In and OPEN from American Express Alex Della Rocca, 212-481-7000 alexd@mbooth.com or OPEN from American Express Rosa M. Alfonso, 212-640-1712 rosa.m.alfonso@aexp.com