Woman Entrepreneur Named Among 50 Make Mine A Million $ Business Awardee

Tobi Kosanke of Hempstead, TX Wins National Business Growth Competition Designed to Accelerate Women Owned Businesses to $1 Million in Business Revenues

Online PR News – 09-June-2011 – – DENVER, CO –Tobi Kosanke, owner of Crazy K Farm Pet and Poultry Products, has been named among the inaugural class of 50 “M3 1000” Awardees of up-and-coming women entrepreneurs.

M3 1000, the latest evolution of the groundbreaking Make Mine a Million $ Business (M3) program, is a national initiative of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence and American Express OPEN designed to help women entrepreneurs strengthen their vision, build their strategy and take their business to a million dollars in revenue. The 50 Awardees represent 15 states and a wide range of industries, all aspiring to grow their post start-up enterprises into million-dollar firms. Kosanke’s business, Crazy K Farm, manufactures innovative products that increase the quality of animals’ lives.

Awardees were selected as part of the first-ever M3 1000 pitch competition held on April 4, 2011, in Denver, the largest ever gathering of women entrepreneurs pitching their businesses. The 50 Awardees were selected form 62 pitch competition winners based on additional analysis of their business financials, business plans, and professional references, as well as their overall potential to build significant and sustainable companies with the growth potential to achieve $1 million or more in business revenues.

“I am so excited to have been invited to join this incredible group of women!” says Kosanke. “We are all motivated about growing our businesses and the M3 program offers us a unique chance to learn from experts, as well as each other. I am ready to work hard and ‘make mine a million!’”

As M3 awardees, each of the winners are eligible to receive an American Express OPEN Business Gold Rewards card with up to 50,000 Membership Rewards® points (terms and conditions apply); inclusion in group coaching sessions with other Denver awardees; a one year legislative membership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP); an invitation to join the exclusive M3 online networking group; and special consideration for additional national and local public relations opportunities. The honorees already received a $1000 American Express(R) Gift Card and an introductory cycle of professional coaching with The Coach Connection as a result of being named a pitch competition winner at the Denver event.

“Less than three percent of women-owned businesses in the United States have reached $1 million in annual revenues and this needs to change in order for our nation’s economy to grow,” explains Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In. “We believe these 50 businesses have the potential to grow into million-dollar enterprises, creating jobs in their communities and building new futures for their families. We look forward to working with them on that journey.”

“There are an estimated 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people,” said Karen-Michelle Mirko, director of customer advocacy at American Express OPEN. “We at OPEN are thrilled to see the largest M3 awardee class ever and pleased to support this group of high-potential women from diverse industries.”

The next M3 1000 event and pitch competition will be held in Philadelphia, PA on September 25 and 26, 2011.

M3 1000 focuses on these types of companies:
• The business should be at least 50 percent owned by a woman who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident
• The company should be at least one year old and have annual revenues between $85,000 - $700,000
• The entrepreneur should be ready to grow her business to a million dollars within the next 18-36 months

At the M3 1000 Philadelphia event, each participant will deliver a two-minute elevator pitch about her business, qualifications, and how she would benefit from the program. The elevator pitch is given in front of a live audience and a panel of judges. The judges will select which of the participants will be named as pitch winners, who will receive prizes and then move on to the final round to collect additional resources.

About Crazy K Farm®
Crazy K Farm® (http://www.crazykfarm.com) is located in Hempstead, TX approximately 45 miles northwest of Houston. Chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, goats and sheep are raised on the 35-acre working farm. The majority of the animals are rescues. Crazy K Farm® manufactures quality pet and poultry products including the patented Hen Saver® hen apron and Avian Haven® hut for caged birds, and the patent-pending Kitty Holster® cat harness. The company has quickly grown from its humble origins as a manufacturer of pre-paid, made-to-order items sold solely via a personal eBay account, to products being manufactured by the tens of thousands and sold in stores across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Crazy K Farm, which is a three-time StartupNation business competition winning company, is also a member of the Houston Better Business Bureau and the American Pet Products Association.

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 program to inspire one million women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses to a million dollars in revenue by providing tools, skills and the support of a nation-wide community of peers. For more information, please visit http://www.makemineamillion.org.

About American Express OPEN
American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small businesses in the United States and supports business owners with products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to help improve profitability. Learn more at http://www.openforum.com and twitter.com/openforum.