News Release

Cisco Systems Provides Smart Business Communications Technology Packages to National 'Make Mine a $Million Business' Program Award Recipients

Packages Valued at $200,000 Awarded to Women Entrepreneurs to Help Grow and Sustain Their Competitive Advantage
Jul 31, 2006

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 31, 2006 - Underscoring a commitment to global gender workforce diversity and supporting the growth of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), Cisco Systems® today announced it is providing up to $20,000 of highly secure and flexible network solution packages to each of the 10 'Make Mine a $Million Business' program award recipients in 2006. The goal of Count Me In's national Make Mine a $Million Business program is to foster a community of 1 million women-owned businesses earning $1 million or more in annual revenue by 2010.

The Cisco® Smart Business Communications packages will be tailored to include networking products such as Cisco Unified CallManager Express, Cisco Unity® Express, Cisco integrated services routers, Cisco Catalyst® Express 500 Series Switches, and Cisco Unified IP Phones. Installation, services, and support of the customized communications technology packages are included and will be provided by authorized local Cisco channel partners who are members of the Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN), a Cisco Authorized Distributor.

"I know how Cisco helps solve business problems through network technology, so we're thrilled they are a sponsor of the Make Mine a $Million Business program," said Nell Merlino, founder and CEO of Count Me In. "Part of technology is bringing people together and to look at how to scale as demand for business increases. Cisco makes this kind of growth and excitement possible, particularly because of their generosity as a company."

The Make Mine a $Million Business Program was founded in 2005 by Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, a nonprofit organization providing online business loans and resources, and OPEN from American ExpressSM , the small business team at American Express.. Cisco joined the program this year as the first network technology sponsor for the Make Mine a $Million Business program. QVC also supported the program this year by giving qualified individuals an opportunity to sell their products to a national television audience.

More than 500 applications were submitted for the Make Mine a $Million Business event in San Francisco earlier this year where 20 women entrepreneurs were chosen as awardees. Of those 20, five award recipients will receive the Cisco network technology packages. Another five award recipients, chosen from a pool of women-owned business applications for the Oct. 24 event at the Manhattan Center Ballroom in New York, will also receive technology packages.

The Cisco technology packages will help enable the award recipients to align their information technology strategies with their business goals and build sustainable networks they can expand as their businesses grow. The five Make Mine a $Million Business award recipients selected to receive the Cisco communications technology packages from the San Francisco event include:

  • Kimberly Martinez, CEO, and Lisa Harrington Chief Design Officer
    Bonitas International LLC, based in Englewood, Fla.
    Business: Creative identification badge displays
  • Molly Fuller, President, and Anne McCarten-Gibbs, Co-owner
    Hands On Gourmet LLC, based in San Francisco, Calif.
    Business: Hands-on cooking events for team building and celebrations
  • Garnett Newcombe, President
    Human Potential Consultants LLC, based in Carson, Calif.
    Business: Project management support and staffing services
  • Kerrie Paige, CEO
    NovaSim LLC, based in Bellingham, Wash.
    Business: Software development
  • Diana Mercer, CEO
    Peace Talks Mediation Services Inc., based in Playa del Rey, Calif.
    Business: Family law mediator

Cisco and Ingram Micro, Inc. (NYSE: IM), will pair local Cisco channel partners from the IMSN with each of these businesses to conduct a Cisco Smart Business Roadmap assessment to help design an installation plan that best fits their specific business needs. Once the assessment has been conducted, the IMSN partners will install the Cisco Smart Business Communications solutions and provide the connectivity to the appropriate service provider chosen by the Cisco award recipients.

"Cisco and Ingram Micro's support of the Make Mine a Million initiative helps give women-owned businesses a competitive edge by empowering their businesses with the technology they need to grow stronger and more profitable," said Jennifer Baier Anaya, vice president of marketing communications, Ingram Micro U.S. "We applaud our IMSN members for supporting Cisco and Make Mine a $Million and are proud to be part of such a powerful program."

"Cisco's vision - to change the way people work, live, play and learn - is truly made possible through a network of diversity and a culture of inclusion that connect our workplace to the marketplace," said Lauren Ventura, senior director for small and medium-sized business marketing at Cisco Systems. "We at Cisco are so proud to be a sponsor of the Make Mine a $Million Business initiative and are looking forward to working with our partners to help the award recipients achieve their goals as their businesses evolve."

Applications Now Accepted

Applications for the New York event on Oct. 24 are now being accepted. Deadline to submit an application is Sept. 29. Interested women business owners nationwide can log onto to apply.

About Count Me In

Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence is the leading national not-for-profit provider of on-line business loans and resources for women to grow their micro businesses into $million enterprises. Find us at or call 212-245-1245.

About OPEN from American ExpressSM

OPENSM is the American Express team dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. The OPEN Team supports business owners with unparalleled service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPENSM, visit, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.

American Express Company ( is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

About QVC®

QVC, Inc., a $6.5 billion company, is an e-commerce leader, marketing a wide variety of brand name products in such categories as home furnishings, licensed products, fashion, beauty, electronics and fine jewelry. QVC reaches over 89 million homes in the United States. Other divisions/subsidiaries include, Q Records and Video, QVC @, QVC Local, QVC ProductWorks. The QVC Studio Tour is located at the company's world headquarters in West Chester, Pa. QVC is a subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation.

About Ingram Micro

As a vital link in the technology value chain, Ingram Micro creates sales and profitability opportunities for vendors and resellers through unique marketing programs, outsourced logistics services, technical support, financial services, and product aggregation and distribution. The company serves 140 countries and is the only broadline global IT distributor with operations in Asia. Visit