Local Business Woman Winner of the Make Mine a Million $ Business™ Florida Event

1,500 contestants narrowed to 25 Finalists competed for financing, mentoring, and other prizes to help catapult their businesses into million-dollar enterprises.

Jupiter, FL, January 26, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Business growth program, Make Mine A Million $ Business selected Emily McHugh of Casauri as one of the fifteen business women winners from a group of 25 finalists that competed for an awards package at the Hollywood, Florida event on December 11, 2008 at the Westin Diplomat Hotel. The exciting event featured female entrepreneurs from across the nation who competed for business development packages that include money, marketing, mentoring and technology assistance to help their businesses grow into million-dollar enterprises. The event also included educational and network opportunities in addition to keynote speeches by Count Me In Founder, Nell Merlino.

Described as a cross between “The Apprentice” and “American Idol,” the competition provided these twenty five finalists the opportunity to present their business in a 3 minute “elevator pitch” to a panel of business experts and a live audience. Fifteen winners were chosen by the audience and judges who collaborate on the selection process.

Emily McHugh is the CEO and Creative Director of Casauri. Casauri designs stylish and colorful laptop cases and travel accessories for the mobile lifestyle. Casauri’s laptop bag went from being Emily’s class project at Columbia Business School to becoming the first laptop bag sold at the Museum of Modern Art Design Store in New York. Located in Fort Pierce, Florida, Casauri’s products are available in specialty stores in the US and internationally and online at www.casauri.com and www.apple.com. In addition, to her work at Casauri, Emily has been a featured speaker on entrepreneurship at various national conferences. On December 2nd, she participated in a panel discussion of women entrepreneurs at Yale University’s Institute of Entrepreneurship in New Haven, CT and on December 5th, she addressed the topic how to survive and thrive in difficult economic times at the Florida Regional Minority Business Council Business symposia (www.frmbc.org) in Pembroke Pines, FL. In addition to her speaking engagements, Emily writes articles on entrepreneurship published in the online editions of The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Winners of the Make Mine a Million $ Business will receive an awards package that will help their businesses break the million-dollar barrier. Awards include prizes and select discounts from national sponsors including Jet Blue, Dell, FedEx, Cisco, as well as unique marketing opportunities, access to credit, and business coaching and mentoring from a “dream” team of coaches sponsored by American Express OPEN and business experts from Count Me In.

Launched in 2005 by Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and founding partner American Express OPEN, the Make Mine a Million $ Business program was created to help post-start up, women-owned businesses grow to one million dollars in annual revenue. Since its inception, the program has hosted 19 competitions in cities around the country and grown into a nationwide movement. For the Florida event, more than 1,500 applications were submitted in hopes of securing one of the fifteen winner spots.

“We are thrilled by the eagerness of women across the country to grow their businesses, create jobs in their communities, and create stability for their families and the national economy,” said Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In. “The number of applicants mirrors the growth of our entrepreneurs’ businesses and their desire to take them to the million dollar level.”

The Make Mine a Million $ Business program has garnered support from organizations who are all joining hands in order to make an impact in women’s lives and strengthening the US economy. The list of blue-chip national sponsors include: American Express OPEN, Jet Blue, Dell, FedEx, AIG, and Cisco. Sponsors provide an array of products and services that serve as invaluable tools for growth.

For more information about how women can grow their businesses and to learn about the Make Mine a Million Race please visit www.makemineamillion.org.

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 micro businesses to million dollar enterprises. Count Me In launched the Make Mine a Million $ Business to inspire one million women entrepreneurs scale their businesses to a million dollars in revenue by 2010 by providing tools, skills and the support of a nation-wide community of peers.

Emily McHugh