Count Me In & The make mine a million $ business

It’s been a crazy month for me- between being super busy at the shop with Father’s Day shoppers, NY Times, getting people ready for summer trips, etc., I was  also honored to have been a finalist in an amazing contest for Women Entrepreneur’s called, Make mine a Mine a $ Business. I first heard about the organization back in 2006 when I attended one of their first NYC events. It was truly one of the most inspiring days of my life- from the Finalist’s pitches, to hearing Hillary Clinton speak- it was an amazing day. The contest, which was created by Nell Merlino (who was the creative force behind  Take Our Daughters to Work Day, amongst other accolades) and powered by Open for American Express is part of a global movement to empower women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses to a million dollars and beyond. Did you know before 1974 women couldn’t even take out a business loan in their own name? Did you know that 70% of the women owned businesses in the world have revenues less than $50k? Here are some more startling facts (from the M3 website)-

  • Women-owned businesses employ approximately 27 million people
  • Women own 48% of all businesses in the United States — that is 9.1 million businesses*
  • Women business owners contribute more than $3.6 trillion to the marketplace each year, and women account for more than 70% of consumer spending *
  • 55% of women provide half or more of their household’s income, yet 48 million women — that is 80% of all women in the workforce — earn less than $25,000 a year

*Facts from “The National Foundation for Women Business Owners”



To enter the contest we had to be in business for atleast 2 years and have a certain level of revenue. We had to submit all of our financials and projections as well as answer a ton of questions about our growth opportunities, target market, etc. Once I was selected as a finalist I had to work on my elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a 2-3 minute business synopsis of where your business is and where you want to take it. We had to cover certain criteria in ours,  but generally it’s called an Elevator Pitch because you want it short and concise enough to attract investors and customers if you are lucky enough to ride an elevator with them. Day one of the event (Monday June 14th- two weeks later I am finally recuperating!) we all met out in Newark, NJ to meet each other (there were 15 finalists) and to practice our Pitches in front of each other, coaches, Nell, Wall Street Journal Cameras, etc. Very daunting!! I had a great time hearing about everyone’s businesses and was interested to meet two other retailers amongst the group. Here’s a little write up from WSJ.com about the prep work entitled,  Three Minutes to a Million.

Anyway, after practicing with my partner (Stephanie Vance from The Advocacy Associates) – and then making Rob hear my pitch another hundred times, I was ready!! Tuesday we had to deliver our pitches to 350 people, including Judges, the press, etc. and let me tell you my fear of public speaking is GONE after that harrowing experience. I learned a ton- from all the speakers, the Coaches, other finalists, Nell, from MYSELF. What a wonderful experience!! If you are a woman in business or interested in starting one- I highly recommend you become part of this amazing group of women. Nell pointed out something in one of her speeches that I can’t get out of my head- that women, unlike men, SHARE their experiences with other women. We all need to work together.  By empowering more women business owners to achieve the goal of a million dollar business (end goal: a million women owned businesses making a million dollars) we really help the world: by creating more jobs  and people making money to spend money, etc. Thanks so much to all my fellow finalists for their inspiring stories, to Nell and everyone at Make Mine a Million.

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