The development will create more than 700 jobs in construction and related industries
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is in the midst of a $2.6 billion expansion of its campus.
Mayor Michael Nutter, elected officials and representatives of the city’s business community joined Dr. Steven Altschuler, CEO of CHOP to celebrate the development of CHOP’s Ambulatory Care Center.
The ambulatory care center, which is currently under excavation on Civic Boulevard, will consist of a 500,000 square foot development that will provide children who need to see multiple specialists with enhanced care. The development will create more than 700 jobs comprised of direct and indirect construction jobs.
“Our ongoing expansion will create a significant number of construction and health care sector-related jobs, additional economic and community benefit to the city and most importantly, improved access to state-of-the-art, high quality medical care for children and their families,” Altschuler said during a press conference held at CHOP’s Colket Translational Research Building.
“We’re grown rapidly because the demand for patient services has continually exceeded our capacity to provide care in the most clinically-appropriate and cost-effective way possible.”
A part of CHOP’s expansion includes the newly opened Ruth and Tristram Colket Jr. Translational Research Building, which overlooks the expansion site. The $500 million facility houses pediatric research labs for cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, blindness and hemophilia.
CHOP’s new developments will extend beyond its traditional campus. CHOP plans to break ground on a new $30 million primary care facility on October 6 at 48th and Market Streets in West Philadelphia.
Mayor Nutter hailed CHOP for its commitment to the Philadelphia region.
“It means something to all of us to truly be able to say we have the best children’s hospital in the United States of America right here in the city of Philadelphia,” said Nutter.
“Two billion dollars over the course of the next four, five years is just spectacular. It will put people to work, bring better health care to this city but it also is a indication again that this is a smart city and they’re making a smart choice by investing in Philadelphia.”
During the event, Livingston White, a contractor and West Philadelphia resident discussed working on CHOP’s expansion projects since 2000.
“I feel very fortunate and thankful to have maintained employment during a time with so much economic pressure on society and unemployment at an all-time high,” White said.
With 13,000 employees, CHOP is Philadelphia’s fifth largest employer and Pennsylvania’s 21st largest employer. According to Atlschuler, CHOP added 7,000 new jobs since 2002 and has contributed $14 million per year in wage-tax revenue.
Last year, 30,000 patients were admitted to CHOP and CHOP’s network facilities received 1.6 million outpatient visits.
Consumers seeking a unique shopping experience can head to the National Alliance of Market Developers 10th Annual “Buy Black” Shopping Expo.
The expo, which will be held December 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street, offers consumers a mix of products and services from nearly 50 businesses. Businesses from Washington, D.C. to New York will be represented at this regionally targeted event.
The shopping expo features department store quality products in an environment where consumers can directly interact with the entrepreneur who has created the item and receive affordable prices. A variety of sectors will be represented including clothing and apparel, jewelry, educational products, personal care products, professional services and performing artists. The expo will also feature food vendors, entertainment and educational information.
Through the event, NAMD is working to increase the dollars that circulate within African American-owned businesses.
“The annual NAMD Buy Black event provides an opportunity for those that want to support Black-owned businesses to participate directly by identifying and patronizing these vendors and business owners on site,” says Norm Bond, NAMD chairman.
Bond refers to the expo as a grassroots approach to economic development and job creation.
The concept of supporting Black-owned businesses is being touted at a time when African-American purchasing power is growing. A report released by Nielsen and the National Newspapers Publishers Association indicates the collective buying power of the African-American population is projected to be at $1.1 trillion by 2015.
Nationwide, Black consumers spend billions of dollars per year. However, Bond cited statistics indicating that 95 percent of these dollars are spent with non-Black owned businesses.
“More people are recognizing the need to get these Black dollars turning over within businesses. We need to move the needle,” says Bond.
“As the Black unemployment rate has continued to climb, I think people are realizing that there’s not going to be any specific program coming out from the federal level, the state level or the local level to drive those numbers down so more people are starting to realize that we are going to have to do this ourselves — we are going to have to create our own jobs.”
Tables for vendors are still available for the upcoming expo. Admission to the expo is free. For information, visit www.namdphiladelphia.com.
Christopher Abbott has parlayed a love for cooking into a burgeoning business venture.
As the owner of Chef Kristov and Company, Abbott specializes in offering personal chef and catering services.
Depending on their needs, Abbott cooks meals for clients at their homes or delivers ready-made, custom tailored meals that he cooks in his kitchen. When consulting with first-time clients, he gathers information about their food preferences, health needs and dietary restrictions. Clients can choose from a vast selection of beef, fish, poultry, pasta and vegetarian dishes. On the catering side, Chef Kristov caters for dinner parties, meetings, small receptions and weddings.
Abbott uses his business as a platform to educate people about the importance of healthy eating and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
“I put my name out there as a healthy chef. My chef work is a ministry to me. My thing is, people need to survive. God wants us to live our life to the fullest,” says Abbott, who is a South Philadelphia native.
He doesn’t consider churning out tasty fare as mundane work. For Abbott, the art of cooking is a labor of love.
“This is my passion. I love food. I love to cook,” says Abbott, who juggles running the business with his daytime job as a technical analyst for Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis LLP.
Prior to launching Chef Kristov and Company in November 2010, Abbott garnered years of experience in the food industry. His background includes catering for La’Petite Bakeries and serving as a catering assistant for Simply Delicious Caterers. Abbott is also a former co-owner of Gumbo For Da Soul.
Abbott says consistency is critical to ensuring that his business is successful.
“My thing is if you give the people what they want and they like it, they’ll keep coming back,” he added.
His efforts are paying off for his clients.
For almost a year, Abbott has been preparing dinners for his long-term customer Todd Rose, president and CEO of Telrose Corporation.
“His food is — first and foremost — outstanding. It’s well prepared. It’s always fresh, and it’s very healthy for me,” says Rose. “He’s really customer first and customer oriented.”
Rose regards Chef Kristov’s services as being very cost effective.
“It’s actually saved me money on my grocery bill,” Rose added.
Abbott left a good impression when he catered a New Orleans-style dinner at the home of William Dixon during Northwest Mt. Airy Neighbors Association’s “Eat Your Hearts Out” event. The event, which was sponsored by Chestnut Hill Hospital, was held last April and enabled participating Mt Airy residents to invite neighbors to dinner at their respective homes.
“Chris did a fabulous job. He turned it out,” Dixon said of Abbott’s services.
“He’s very professional. He’s got a great vision and I think he’s got great potential to be of the great chefs of Philadelphia. I’m just a fan of his across the board,” he said.
While Chef Kristov and Company just marked its first year in operation, Abbott has mapped out a vision for the future. He plans to open a Philadelphia-based Louisiana-style restaurant in the fall of 2012.
A major tradeshow was highlighted during the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau annual luncheon.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that LIGHTFAIR International (LFI), the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting tradeshow and conference, will return to Philadelphia on April 23–25, 2013.
LFI’s decision to return to Philadelphia follows a record-breaking 2011 performance marked by the highest attendee satisfaction scores in the show’s 22-year history. More than 23,000 registered attendees turned out for the conference.
“With customer satisfaction levels reaching historic highs in the record-breaking 2011 showing, LIGHTFAIR’s 2013 return to Philadelphia sets a new stage for continued growth,” said Jeffrey L. Portman Sr., president and chief operating officer of LFI managing partner AMC, Inc.
“It’s a natural response to preferences clearly voiced by LFI attendees and offers LFI exhibitors a staging venue unmatched in size, scale and potential.”
Nutter stressed the importance of the city’s hospitality sector as he addressed 1,200 business and hospitality leaders and elected officials who attended the PCVB luncheon at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
“A strong hospitality sector is critical to Philadelphia so that we can host world-class trade shows and to be a destination for businesses,” said Nutter. “We have great restaurants, hotels, shopping and cultural amenities that appeal to everyone. These assets help our city attract businesses to the city, and new residents.”
The focus on strengthening the city’s hospitality sector comes at time when there are 55,900 hospitality-related jobs in Philadelphia, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The luncheon served as an occasion to highlight PCVB’s marketing efforts. The bureau has booked more than $2.8 billion convention center expansion-related business.
The PCVB is working to position Philadelphia as a top international destination.
“We’ve been studying travel patterns and are now marketing Philadelphia in the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil and Russia in addition to the steadfast Western European markets where we have seen so much success within the past 10 years,” said PCVB President and CEO Jack Ferguson.
“As the international tourism arm for the city of Philadelphia, we’re letting our new customers around the globe know why Philadelphia is the city that they should choose to visit for leisure and for business. We continue to study convention trends, our competition and talk to our customers to ensure that we deliver the best customer service — the complete package, to them and their attendees.”
The PCVB recently led representatives from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Barnes Foundation on a mission to Paris and London for a series of press announcements to promote Philadelphia as a global arts destination.
Since the bureau’s international marketing efforts began in 2000, Philadelphia has moved from the 21st to the 13th most visited American city.
During the event, PCVB unveiled its “Completely Philadelphia” video which highlights everything from Philadelphia’s university and life sciences community to its sports teams, shopping and dining destinations. The new video www.philadelphiausa.travel/phillyvideo, joins a full suite of tools that makes information about the city more accessible.
Pamela Cromwell regards herself as a fighter, not a cancer survivor.
Cromwell was 29 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and told that she only had six months to live.
Five years later, she is battling Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, a stage of cancer where the disease has spread.
Cromwell first became aware that something was wrong when she felt a lump in her left breast while showering. When she first went in for testing, medical professionals thought she had a cyst. Six months would go by before she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that was moving rapidly.
After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, she thought she was in remission, but she was not. The cancer returned to her right breast.
Two years ago, she decided to turn to Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia for her oncology care.
“A lot of people think I’m in remission which I’m not,” said Cromwell, who undergoes hormonal treatments once a month at CTCA.
She has not let cancer deter her from continuing to engage in one of her favorite pastimes — kickboxing. She still commutes from Plainsville, N.J. to New York for her full-time job as a financial analyst. She doesn’t believe in putting blocks on herself.
“Because of a combination of prayer, great people in my life and my determination to be stubborn, I’m in a very good state in my life. It’s just because I finally learned my lesson, that I had to take my life back,” said Cromwell, who is 34.
“I don’t walk around thinking this could be my last year in life. I just do what I have to do.”
She wants others to understand that the face of breast cancer goes beyond the typical portrayal of 45- or 50-year-old women.
“I think that people feel more comfortable with the idea that you have cancer, so that means you should be in bed, bald and not able to move, and the fact that I don’t look like a typical cancer patient means they want to say I’m in remission and I’m not,” said Cromwell.
She shares her story at a time when African-American women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45 and are also more likely to have more aggressive types of breast cancer.
“I just feel like people need to understand that cancer is turning into a chronic disease and people are dealing with it long-term. I feel like the world is catering to the survivor. All due respect, I don’t consider myself a survivor, I am a fighter and that’s how I like to be classified,” Cromwell said.
As a younger person coping with cancer, the newly released movie titled “50/50” resonates with her, she said. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, who portray best friends whose lives are changed by a cancer diagnosis at the age of 27, and sheds some light on the physical and emotional facets of living with cancer.
“The movie was phenomenal because it was real. It was not pretty. The movie was on target,” said Cromwell, who appreciated the film’s honesty.
When Cromwell first came to CTCA, Dr. Shayma Kamzi, a medical oncologist and hematologist, had to inform her that she had metastatic disease. Prior to her first visit to CTCA, she underwent a CT scan that revealed the cancer had spread from her breast to the bones.
“Of course she was shocked, and this came as a surprise, but she rose above it and really has fought very hard,” Kazmi said.
“She has a quality of life where she’s able to work full time and really be active and feel good and normal. She’s done really, really well. Obviously lengthening someone’s life is one thing, but adding quality to that life is also very important,” said Kazmi.
Since she joined the CTCA staff two and half years ago, Kazmi has treated a number of patients who are in their 30s and 40s for various forms of cancer.
“We do see a higher percentage of these very aggressive tumors and young patients tend to have a more aggressive disease and we don’t quite know why, and that’s true all across the board,” she said.
“I see a lot of younger women with breast cancer, and I think there are a lot of issues that people don’t focus on,” she said, noting that there are concerns for younger women about sexuality and fertility.
New hospital unit helps diabetic, artery disease patients avoid amputation
Temple University Hospital is home to a new center that specializes in saving legs from being amputated.
Under the direction of Temple’s chief of vascular surgery, Dr. Eric Choi, the Limb Salvage Center assists diabetic and peripheral artery disease (PAD) patients facing amputation.
The center offers 12 different medical disciplines in one place, including podiatry, endocrinologists, cardiology, physical therapy, interventional radiology, orthotics and vascular surgery.
“We have a center now where patients can come in and we can converge on them instead of them going to see one specialist and another specialist. We are all on call to see the patients as needed. So it becomes a multidisciplinary type of approach and is much more patient-centered,” said Choi.
After suffering complications related to PAD, Philadelphia resident Anna Mosley was referred to the Limb Salvage Center for treatment of swelling problems and leg wounds that were having difficulty healing. Mosley developed leg wounds after she suffered a heart attack and was placed in a rehab center. Mosley will not have to undergo any surgery on her legs.
“We were able to find out that she did have some circulation problems. As long as we were aggressive, and with the help of her nephew who assists her everyday, we were able to get it mostly healed up,” Choi says in regard to her wounds.
“Basically we tried to tailor-make the therapy for her because everybody who has PAD or circulation problems needs surgery.”
While Mosley’s legs are getting better, she has difficulty walking.
“I’m having a little difficulty getting around,” said Mosley.
When Choi first joined Temple’s staff a year ago, he encountered patients younger than 40 who needed to have a leg amputated due to diabetic complications. Those experiences spurred him to launch a center that would cater to the needs to the community and make a difference.
Eighty percent of the patients served by the center are diabetic — a condition that can lead to leg amputation. Choi noted that many of the center’s patients have artery disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet.
According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 60 percent of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
Choi says a simple cut on the leg or foot of a diabetic patient could evolve into a larger sore if it’s not treated. Left unchecked, the leg could become infected with gangrene, which leads to amputations.
With that in mind, Choi says wounds of diabetics must be treated right away.
“If it’s properly treated, you don’t have to worry about amputations,” Choi stressed.
“In fact, most amputations are avoidable.”
For years, Choi has been studying techniques to improve blood flow to prevent the need for amputation. Now he is preparing to enroll Temple patients who are at high risk for a leg amputation into a three-year clinical trial that involves the use of angiogenesis, a technique which entails improving blood flow to the leg using therapies designed to grow new blood vessels.
The Avenue of the Arts Inc. is gearing up for a project that would enhance the North Broad Street corridor.
The Building on North Broad Street Initiative calls for a bold lighting design, green spaces and landscaping along the corridor that spans from north of City Hall to Broad and Glenwood.
Under the $13 million project, 55-square foot high lights would be installed from Broad and Spring Garden Streets to Broad and Glenwood Avenue. Streetscape plantings would span from City Hall to Broad and Glenwood.
AAI Executive Director Karen A. Lewis says this is the ideal time to enhance the North Broad corridor.
“Things are aligned now. When I first started and I talked about North Broad Street people would look at me strangely. Now when I say North Broad Street — it’s like, oh wow,” Lewis said, noting more developers are taking more interest in the corridor.
“It’s just interesting to see that change in reaction because there’s so much happening. It’s just the timing is right. There’s just a lot of interest, activity and development and that’s exactly what we wanted. We wanted people to know and appreciate the potential for North Broad Street.”
The project will be highlighted during a Promenade of Lights Ceremony held September 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Temple School of Law, 1719 North Broad Street.
“It is to show that we have reached a milestone in this project and we wanted the community and others to celebrate this milestone with us,” Lewis says of the ceremony.
The Building on North Street Initiative is supported by local, private, state and federal investment. Mayor Michael Nutter administration contributed $4.8 million in capital funds to the project.
AAI recently received $3.9 million in Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funding for the project. State Sen. Shirley Kitchen, state Sen. Vincent Hughes and state Rep. Dwight Evans were instrumental in securing the additional funding.
Sen. Kitchen says the project will really give the North Broad corridor a lift for both neighborhood residents and businesses.
“Everything just can’t continue to keep going on South Broad. We got to build up North Broad too. It absolutely needs it. You can see the drop off as you travel northward from Center City,” Kitchen said.
“It really needs to be built up so that businesses can be attracted to locate there. We’re trying to build it up because businesses can’t thrive and neighborhoods can’t grow if there isn’t an incentive created and people don’t feel like anybody cares.”
AAI has been working on the Building on North Broad Street Initiative since 2007. Organization officials have been meeting with city departments, PennDOT, SEPTA and community stakeholders.
The project, designed by architect Bohlin Cynwinski Jackson, is slated to be up for bid by the end of year. The streetlights and streetscape plantings are scheduled for completion by 2013.
For Janet Curtis, what began as a hobby has morphed into a successful business venture.
In 2000, Curtis started concocting shea butter creams and body washes in her kitchen for her personal use. Three years later, she was ready to open a shop in Chestnut Hill.
Curtis launched her business with the goal of offering high end products at an affordable price.
Today Jahaya’s Organic Skin Care and Healing Spa offers approximately 30 natural products.
The shop’s wooden shelves display handmade soaps in the scents of lemongrass, oatmeal, lavender and peppermint; natural face washes; astringents; vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy and acne prone skin facial toners; anti-aging facial creams; pumpkin masques; shower butters; shea butters; shea butter creams; foot scrubs; hair growth and emu oils.
“There’s a little bit of something for everybody,” Curtis says of her shop’s offerings. “Natural products give you instant gratification.”
One product that she can barely keep on her shelves is the Mango Passion Tea Shea Butter — mixed with Curtis’ blend of special ingredients.
“It’s very alluring to the opposite sex,” says Curtis, who noticed many of her female customers’ mates encouraged them to purchase the shea butter after smelling it for the first time.
“That’s a shelf staple. If I don’t have that, people have a major attitude.”
Now Curtis is gearing up for the holidays, when she offers another popular seasonal product — a white chocolate raspberry mousse. Custom gift baskets are also available during the Christmas season.
Throughout her years in business, Curtis has used her own skin as a testing ground for her natural products.
“Some of the things I test on myself because I have very sensitive skin,” says Curtis, who has a background as a health educator for children.
The shop, located at 8138 Germantown Avenue serves as the place where Curtis mixes and bottles her products. When she first started out, Curtis would mix products at home -where she admits the process had a negative impact on her kitchen.
Shoppers might even wander in while she’s in the midst of bottling a new batch. Curtis has also incorporated body detoxing at Jahaya’s.
While interacting with her customers, Curtis takes the time to educate them about the benefits of using certain natural ingredients on their skin.
“There’s so much false information out there about good products,” she pointed out.
After years of concocting products, Curtis still has a passion for what she does.
“I always enjoyed doing it. I still enjoy it,” she said. “After eight years, I still lie in bed and wonder ‘can I do that?’”
Preliminary plans are in the works for Curtis to develop a skin care line, inspired by her granddaughter, for ‘tweens and teens.
The Mt. Airy resident was drawn to Chestnut Hill’s close proximity to her home.
Jahaya’s has outlived a number of businesses on the Germantown Avenue shopping corridor. Curtis credits her staple product offerings for enabling Jahaya’s to survive a tough economic environment.
“I make staple products. Either you’re going to go to CVS or Rite Aid and buy a cream or you can come here and buy a cream for a comparable price,” Curtis says.
“People will always put aside money for beauty care products. They may feel bad but they’re not going to look bad.”
Hassan F. Johnson, chief executive officer of ThaTrunk, has developed a savvy mobile application geared toward connecting creative professionals such as musicians, authors and artists to their consumers.
“We give them a better sales channel to distribute content to and sell merchandise,” Johnson says of ThaTrunk’s application.
“There is a great need for creative people to sell their content on the individual level as well as the e-commerce level.”
ThaTrunk uses mobile commerce and geocast technology to help digital creators resonate with their fans and consumers. For example, the company’s mobile application enables musicians to geocast their music live from stage.
“Since we have the platform, I can see our business taking off and really working with large entertainment companies,” says Johnson, whose firm seeks to raise $750,000 in capital.
Johnson, who hails from Austin, Texas, represented one of 14 tech start-up firms who participated in the recently held DreamIt Ventures Demo Day event.
Demo Day offered participating entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their ideas before an audience of angel investors and business executives. The diverse array of start ups ranged from specializing in offering mobile applications for printed coupons to developing a system designed to streamline the supply procurement process for contractors to offering an online platform designed to connect voters with political candidates.
The companies represented bright entrepreneurial talent and included students and alumni from top academic institutions.
Companies who participated in the DreamIt Ventures business accelerator program spent the last three months working out of shared office space in the University City Science Center. The accelerator program provides selected participants with up to $25,000 in seed capital, donated accounting and legal services and mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. This marked the fourth year that DreamIt Ventures held a program in Philadelphia. The initiative was also held in New York over the summer. In the last four years, DreamIt entrepreneurs have raised more than $25 million.
Five of the participating companies were selected in partnership with Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation as part of the Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP). MEAP was established to address the lack of minorities in the startup community. MEAP is the first investment initiative from the $20 million fund created by the NBCUniversal transaction that is committed to expanding opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. The five startups that participated in MEAP included owners who are African American, Asian, Hispanic and Indian.
According to William Crowder, managing director, MEAP, the five companies were chosen from hundreds of applicants.
“The goals with those companies were no different than the goal that we had with all of other companies. We wanted to give them the same things that we feel are critical for young startups to be successful,” said Crowder.
Crowder noted that similar business accelerator programs are cropping up in cities across the country.
“It’s really critical that we get more minorities into these programs. They need to have these opportunities and more importantly they need to start looking and applying for these opportunities. It’s just such a critical experience for them to have,” Crowder stressed.
Participating MEAP African American-led firms include ThaTrunk; Kwelia, a service that allows property managers to optimize their prices using rental market data and metaLayer, a visual search company that summarizes online data and prioritizes relevant content.
The application process for the next Philadelphia-based DreamIt program opens on May 17, 2012.
For information visit www.dreamitventures.com.
A program geared toward putting women entrepreneurs on the path to significant growth is coming to Philadelphia.
Nonprofit organization Count Me In will host the Make Mine a Million $ Business “M3 1000” program Sept. 25 and 26 at the Doubletree Hotel, 237 South Broad Street.
The initiative aims to inspire women business owners to reach $1 million in revenue.
“It’s life changing,” Count Me In Founder Nell Merlino says of the program, which has traveled to 30 cities around the country.
“Most women business owners work in isolation. Only 70 percent of women-owned businesses even have an employee, so we offer them an opportunity to get really good feedback. It’s mainly an opportunity to learn how to present your business in a way that banks, investors, customers and potential employees will understand very quickly what you do.”
According to Merlino, 30 percent of the women who have come through the program actually hit the $1 million mark in revenue.
“There are either women have recently started a business or women who have been in business for a long time who are stuck at a revenue level and they’d like to be making more money and we know how to help them do that,” said Merlino.
“We are totally focused to moving you to $1 million in revenue. We don’t just want people to come and join us, we want people involved with us so that they can make more money and create more jobs for people in their community.”
During the event, participating entrepreneurs will have opportunity to do a two-minute pitch about their business to a team of judges and experts. The competitors have the opportunity to win six-hours of business coaching and a $1000 gift card from American Express.
The two-day event offers workshops on a various topics such as financing, business etiquette and social media and features presenters such as Melinda Emerson, SmallBizLady, Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter, Jen Groover, media mogul and business expert; Cheryl Walker-Robertson, protocol and etiquette expert and Holly Landau, leadership expert.
Merlino noted that 70 percent of women-owned businesses in the U.S. have $50,000 or less in annual gross revenue.
“We decided by looking at those numbers and learning that only 2.6 percent earn a million that we wanted to set people’s sights high,” she said.
Due to the economy, Merlino has seen many women who were working full time and running their business on the side have had to move their business to the forefront.
“The importance of this has really heightened,” Merlino said.
“It’s one thing if you were doing something and you liked doing it because you had extra money to put away. If you had something you like doing on the side, it may become your full time thing.”
After Diane Floyd was laid off from her full-time job last year, her business Meal Makers, Inc. became the main source of revenue. Founded in 2001, Meal Makers specializes in making customized dinner meals and teaching people how to cook.
Floyd has been attending pitch parties in Philadelphia that give women who are planning to attend M3 1000 a chance to practice their business pitch and receive constructive feedback in a small setting. For Floyd, the pitch parties have provided her with a chance to learn from others and network with other business owners.
She plans to pitch her Meal Makers during the M3 1000 event.
“By going to these pitch parties it’s been very helpful. First in hearing what other people do and how they’ve progressed,” said Floyd.
“It’s been a learning process. They give you encouragement as well as critiques as to how you can improve what you’re saying and what you need to include in the pitch itself.”
To register for the upcoming event, visit www.makemineamillion.org.