Urban Rebound Small Business Initiative Targets Women Entrepreneurs for Growth and Job Creation
Business Growth Program Sponsored by Sam's Club Giving to Identify 300 Women Business Owners for Nine-Month Education and Coaching Program
LOS ANGELES, May 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources, business education, and community support for women entrepreneurs, has launched the Urban Rebound business growth initiative for women with a $750,000 grant from Sam's Club. This exciting new business growth initiative is designed to provide education, support and community for women business owners looking to grow their ventures to $250,000 in annual revenues.
"Women business owners are key to our nation's success, and despite their increasing numbers, statistics show they are less likely to reach their full potential," said Catherine Corley, Vice President for Membership Services at Sam's Club. "We are proud to support Count Me In. We believe the Urban Rebound program will empower women business owners to expand their capabilities, create jobs, and strengthen communities."
Count Me In will present Urban Rebound programs in three metropolitan areas across the United States in 2012. Urban Rebound-Los Angeles Pitch Parties began in March. The Urban Rebound-Los Angeles Conference and Competition is taking place May 10-11 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Additional programs are scheduled for Detroit, Mich., and Charlotte, N.C., later this year. Urban Rebound is designed to help bring 100 women-owned businesses in each region to $250,000 in annual revenues within 12 to 18 months. That goal translates into potentially $75 million in new economic activity and 600 to 900 much needed new jobs.
Urban Rebound is a three part journey:
First, free Pitch Parties are offered throughout each target region where women business owners can practice their two-minute elevator pitch and receive expert feedback on how to make it work most effectively.
Pitch Parties are held in preparation for the Urban Rebound Conference and Competition held in the host city, where participants pitch their businesses to a panel of experts for a chance at one of 100 spots in the business growth program and other business growth prizes. Event attendees will also take part in business education workshops, hear inspiring keynotes, and network in a community of peers and role models. Registration is $49.
Finally, the Pitch Winners selected from the competition will go on to apply for a place in the Count Me In Business Accelerator Program, a nine-month business growth intensive designed to help women-owned businesses with revenues between $50,000 and $150,000 grow to the $250,000 threshold. The program uses a proven combination of professional business coaching and education, confidence building, and support from a strong community of peers.
"We are so excited to bring this fantastic program to LA, Detroit and Charlotte this year – 29 percent of women-owned businesses in the U.S. are based in those states," said Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence. "We look forward to providing local women entrepreneurs with the tools and confidence needed to grow their businesses, create jobs, and foster economic stability for their families and local economies."
California, Michigan and North Carolina are all among the top 10 states in terms of the number of women-owned businesses based there (number 1, 8 and 10, respectively), yet each ranks below the national average in terms of growth for these firms from 1997 to 2010, according to a recent report by American Express OPEN.
To compete in the pitch competition and take part in the CMI Business Accelerator Program, businesses must meet the following criteria:
- Be based in one of the three target regions
- Be in business for at least two years
- Be at least 50 percent woman-owned
- Have annual gross revenues of no less than $50,000 and no greater than $150,000
- Be a US citizen or legal resident
- Have no bankruptcies or liens within past five years
Urban Rebound corresponds with the Global Women's Economic Empowerment Initiative created by Walmart Stores, Inc., in 2011 to empower women across its supply chain. As part of that commitment, Sam's Club aims to empower women through job training and education, and support women's economic empowerment through philanthropic giving.
For more information about Urban Rebound and to register for upcoming events, visit www.countmein.org/UrbanRebound .
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 their businesses to million dollar enterprises. Count Me In launched the Make Mine a Million $ Business Competition to inspire one million women entrepreneurs scale their businesses to a million dollars in business revenues in the next decade by providing tools, skills, and the support of a nation-wide community of peers.
About the Sam's Club Giving Program
Sam's Club Giving supports community-based programs that empower young people, families and small businesses to make smart choices that lead to healthy and bright futures. Through cash and in-kind donations, as well as the dedication of associates, Sam's Club is committed to making an impact in areas that align with the company, and with the passions and interests of members. In 2011, the Sam's Club Giving Program made cash and in-kind contributions of more than $101 million, which included donating more than 38 million meals. Visit SamsClub.com/giving (hotlink) for more information.
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