Count Me In Names 33 Greater Raleigh-Durham Area Women Small Business Owners as Urban Rebound Awardees

Share Article

Select Women Entrepreneurs to Apply to Participate in Business Accelerator Program Aimed to Help Grow their Businesses and Strengthen Local Economy

We look forward to working with this promising group of motivated entrepreneurs as they grow their micro-businesses into thriving enterprises.

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 33 business owners as Awardees of its 2013 Urban Rebound Raleigh-Durham small business 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.

Urban Rebound Awardees each receive a place 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. That program will commence for the Awardees on February 7, 2014 and concludes in October 2014. Awardees also receive a one-year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP).

In addition, the Top 3 Awardees each receive Jump Start Prizes, a $1000 cash award to use in their businesses.

The 33 Urban Rebound Raleigh Awardees are:

  •     Kimberley Basnight, Echos Media
  •     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 & Associates
  •     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
  •     Cherelle James, My Local CFO, LLC
  •     Ingrid Jones, Impacting Meetings & Events
  •     Ruth Kent, Ruth Kent LLC
  •     Lynn Leary, Employment Practices Councel, Inc.
  •     Kimberly Lewey, Lewey Landscaping & LawnCare, Inc.
  •     Danielle J. Long, Esq., The Long Firm, PLLC
  •     Sindy Martin, Smartin International Inc.
  •     Emma Merisier, Southern Cake Queen
  •     Ann W. Okobi, Toci Hardware
  •     Jennifer Patridge, 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 Spann, Lain Consulting
  •     Elizabeth Strugatz, Wired, Twisted & Stoned
  •     Ebony Stubbs, Rae Images
  •     Denise Tarka, The Christmas Cookie Factory
  •     Kimberly 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 Awardees is available at

In addition to the Raleigh-Durham, NC Area, in 2013 Count Me In presented Urban Rebound pitch competition in Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY. Additionally, Count Me In’s Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC) conference and competition, aimed to help women veteran entrepreneurs grow their businesses, is currently being planned for Spring 2014 in Washington D.C.

The 33 Awardees named each presented a two-minute pitch on their business at the Urban Rebound Raleigh-Durham conference and competition at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel in Raleigh, NC on December 2 & 3, 2013. 36 Pitch Finalists were selected at that event and invited to submit financial documentation and business plans as part of the second round of competition. Awardees were chosen based on their demonstrated ability to benefit and grow through the Business Accelerator Program.

“Our Women Entrepreneur Awardees represent yet another group of women business owners who have 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, and follow Count Me In at and @CMIAward.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Ann Noder
Visit website