Local Women Entrepreneurs Pitch Finalists Announced in 2013 Urban Rebound Raleigh Durham Competition

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Select Entrepreneurs to Participate in Business Accelerator Program Aimed to Help Grow their Businesses and Strengthen Their Local Economies

Our Women Entrepreneur Finalists represent yet another group of women business owners who have to the potential to truly impact economic growth in our country.

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, is pleased to name 36 business owners as Finalists of its 2013 Urban Rebound Raleigh Durham small business pitch competition for women.

Urban Rebound Raleigh Durham, made possible with generous support from Sam’s Club Giving Program, is an exciting business growth initiative for women entrepreneurs currently at $50,000 to $150,000 in annual revenues and designed to help them grow quickly and sustainably to spur local economies and job growth in their communities.

Urban Rebound aims to help women-owned businesses across the country grow to $250,000+ in revenue with support through the Count Me In Business Accelerator Program. That goal translates into $50 Million in new economic activity and 400-600 much needed new jobs.
The 36 Pitch Finalists each presented a two-minute pitch on their business at the Urban Rebound Raleigh Durham conference and competition at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel in downtown Raleigh on December 3, 2013. These Pitch Finalists will now be invited to apply to participate in Count Me In’s renowned nine-month Business Accelerator program, which provides intensive business coaching and education designed to help participating businesses grow their revenues by at least 30% and create new jobs within 18-36 months.

If selected as an Awardee, the program will commence on February 7, 2013. Named Awardees also receive a one-year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). In addition, three Awardees will each receive Jump Start Prizes, a $1,000 cash award to use in their businesses.

The 36 Urban Rebound Raleigh Durham Pitch Finalists are as follows:
Kimberley    Basnight - Echos Media
Chef Sarah Bogan - Whisking Apprentice
Anita    Bullock - Good Hair Great Hair
Ophelia Burwell - M.O.R.E. Real Estate Services
Kimberly Calhoun - Paramount Global Holdings, Inc.
Marie Charlot - Marie Charlot & Associate
Regina Dozier - Regina Gale Cosmetics
Valda Ford     - Sex is Not for Sissies
MaryAnne Gucciardi - Dragonwing Girlgear
Bonnie Heart - Do My Eyes
Marissa Heyl - Symbology
Carnela Renee Hill - Interiors by Renee & Associates
Lyn Jackson - Every Story Media
Cherelle James - My Local CFO, LLC
Dunella Jones - The Kila Company
Ingrid Jones - Impact Meetings & Events
Ruth M. Kent - Ruth Kent LLC.
Lynn    Leary - Employment Practices Counsel, Inc.
Kimberly Lewey - Lewey Landscaping & LawnCare, Inc.
Danielle J.    Long, J.D. - The Long Firm
Sindy Martin - Smartin International Inc.
Emma Merisier - Southern Cake Queen
Ann W. Okobi - Toci Hardware
Tolulope Omokaiye - EVOLVE Mentoring, Inc.
Jennifer Partridge - The Looking Glass
Amy    Reid - The Allen Reid Group
Becky Sansbury - After the Shock
Leslie Scott - Economic Development through Entrepreneurship
Tracy Scott - Tracy's Tossed Gourmet Dressings
LaPronda I. Spann - Lain Consulting
Elizabeth L. Strugatz - Wired, Twisted, & Stoned
Ebony Stubbs - Rae Images
Denise Tarka - The Christmas Cookie Factory
Kimberly C.Thigpen - The Bath Place, LLC
Tina    Whittaker - Miracle Prayer Mat
Racquel Williams - Racquel Williams Corporation

A full list of the 2013 Urban Rebound Raleigh Durham Finalists is available at http://www.countmein.org

In addition to the Raleigh Durham Area, in 2013 Count Me In presented an Urban Rebound pitch competition in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles. Additionally, Count Me In’s Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) conference and competition, aimed to help women veteran entrepreneurs grow their businesses took place in November, 2013 in Plano, TX. Another WVEC event will also take place in the spring of 2014.

“Our Women Entrepreneur Finalists represent yet another group of women business owners who have to the potential to truly impact economic growth in our country,” said Nell Merlino, Founder and President of Count Me In. “We look forward to working with this promising group of motivated entrepreneurs as they grow their micro-businesses into thriving enterprises.”

According to 2010 US Census statistics, while women-owned businesses represented nearly 50% of privately held companies, the majority of these firms reach just $50,000 in annual gross revenues or less. In order to impact the current economic recovery, significant growth among these businesses is essential.

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.

For more information about Count Me In and Urban Rebound, visit http:// http://www.countmein.org.

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