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 into million dollar enterprises. Count Me In has inspired tens of thousands of women to take control of the potential of success by providing a wealth of virtual tools and resources, live competitions, and a variety of peer exchange platforms all designed to help women business owners substantially and sustainably increase revenues and create new jobs.
Founded in 1999, Count Me In was the first online micro-lender. Today, Count Me In is fueling a mindset of success and a movement that changes the landscape of small business and how women entrepreneurs impact the national economy, benefiting all Americans and their families. Leading the charge and making this vision a reality is Founder and President, Nell Merlino, international and national champion for women and girls and the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day.
At every rung, from micro to millions, women business owners face systemic economic and social challenges to grow profitable, sustainable enterprises. 2010 Census statistics indicate that while women-owned businesses represented nearly 50% of privately held companies in the U.S., the majority, (75%) reaches only $50,000 in annual gross revenues or less, and only 2.6% reported more than $1 million in annual revenues, compared to 6% of men-owned firms. Since its inception, Count Me In has been dedicated to mobilizing a vibrant community of women business owners ready and able to break that trend. Today that community is more than 50,000 strong, representing virtually every industry sector and with program awardees from all 50 states.
Count Me In’s community of 50,000 highly motivated and commercially active women entrepreneurs together employ more than 200,000 people, making it equivalent to #20 on the Fortune 500 list. Count Me In has been recognized in more than 300 local and national media outlets in 2008 alone, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today and The Today Show, a testament to its commitment to growing and inspiring women in communities across the country.
Count Me In offers business growth resources for motivated women at every level of success, including free access to webinars and blogs, as well as expert talks and workshops at live events that address a wide variety of issues around scaling, finance, HR, marketing, product development, work/life balance, technology, sales and more. Based on our years of work with this community, Count Me In knows that women entrepreneurs grow exponentially when given access to the right tools, coaching and community, which has lead us to launch three unique programs; Make Mine a Million $ Business™ (M3), Urban Rebound and the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) all designed to help women business owners get growing.
The Make Mine a Million $ Business™ (M3) program launched in 2005 with Founding Sponsor American Express OPEN. This renowned program inspires and elevates women to grow their small businesses with revenues of $85,000 to $750,000 to the $1 million mark and beyond in annual revenues. Evidence of the program’s success is in the 28% of M3 program participants reaching $1 million+ in annual revenues, compared to the 2.6% identified by the U.S. Census. In addition, the top 200 program participants have collectively increases revenues by 115% and staffing by 102%.
The Urban Rebound program is designed to build community, capacity and confidence among women with businesses between $50,000-$150,000 in annual revenues and help them grow to the $250,000 threshold. In 2012, Urban Rebound programs supported by a grant from the Sam’s Club Giving Program took place in Los Angeles, Detroit and Charlotte, NC, producing hundreds of women business owners to participate in the nine-month Urban Rebound coaching and training program designed to help them reach $250,000+ in revenues within 18-36 months.
The Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) program is a three-year business growth initiative developed and designed specifically for women business owners who are veterans or spouses/domestic partners of veterans looking to grow their businesses quickly and sustainably. WVEC is made possible with generous support from Capital One Financial Corporation.