Several things struck me when I met Nell Merlino, founder of Count Me In For Women’s Economic Independence. “Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence is the nation’s leading not-for-profit provider of tools, resources and community support for women entrepreneurs.” What struck me about Nell was how down to Earth she was and her commitment to transform women into eloquent sales representatives who are confident pitching themselves and their business while also talking about MONEY in two minutes or less!
If you’ve never seen Nell work with women entrepreneurs, you should. Philadelphia is the location of the next M3 1000 event. M3 1000 is a pitch competition and two day event held September 25th & 26th where hundreds of women entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses in an attempt to win a $1000 American Express gift card and a suite of business growth tools (part of Make Mine a Million $ Business) http://www.makemineamillion.org/events.
A woman who heads up a non-profit that supports entrepreneurs and knows my story recommended I pitch my business, St. Lewis Productions http://www.Stlewisproductions.com, in September. I was concerned that I didn’t fit the pitch criteria – that my business had revenues of approximately $160,000 (this is an approximation as I can’t find the information at this moment). My understanding is that women business owners at that level are better positioned to quickly hit the million dollar mark. The terrific thing about this group is that they don’t discriminate if, like me, your business has not broken through to that level yet.
Count Me In For Women’s Economic Independence is hosting a series of FREE pitch practice sessions in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. The first one I attended was in a lovely art gallery in Philadelphia and was well attended by a diverse group of entrepreneurs. It was amazing, empowering, inspiring and educational to watch these women talk about their businesses and to hear Nell coach them. I knew that I had to pitch even if I was scared. I had spoken to Nell when I came in so she already had an idea of my business.
When it was my turn I was still nervous and shaky. I see the benefit of attending multiple pitch practice sessions. It gives you an opportunity to work out the nerves, get the coaching, implement the coaching and then finally polish your pitch so you are prepared to knock it out of the ballpark on event day. My pitch was ok. More importantly I got very helpful feedback, and even more unexpected I collected several business cards that will open doors for me.
That is the basic premise behind the pitch competition. You can see it in their tag line, “You’ve got to tell it to sell it!” I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up at the pitch practice. I knew that I was nervous and felt unsure of myself. I’m happy to report that it was a beautiful and empowering experience. I’ve been recommending it to my friends who are women entrepreneurs, and I would like to recommend it to you as well. I understand that there are women coming to the September event from 20 states. Now that I understand the value of the experience I completely see why someone would travel to be a part of this.
I have yet to find a community that is so fully committed to supporting and uplifting each other to financial success. I believe the statistic that Nell shared was that only 26% of women owned businesses have hit the million dollar mark, which is far lower than our male counterparts. I love that Nell is taking a stand for women entrepreneurs. The cost of the conference is $49 which even for this starving artist is reasonable. The cool thing is that you can attend all the FREE pitch practices you want and become a member of the M3 community for nothing. So if you haven’t started your business, aren’t raking in serious dough or feeling confident about jumping all in, you can just attend a pitch party and see how it goes.
You have nothing to lose and millions to gain!
(Please visit the M3 1000 link provided above for accurate stats and information. I’m just going off what I can remember and quickly find)