Press releases



Sam's Club® Champions Women Entrepreneurs

$580,000 Contribution to Celebrate Sam’s Club 25th Anniversary
Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Awards Announced in North Carolina

Bentonville, AR September 30, 2008 -- Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Stores Inc. and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence today announced a first of its kind joint initiative to champion women entrepreneurs nationwide. In celebration of Sam’s Club 25th anniversary, the Walmart Foundation will make a $580,000 donation to Count Me In, the leading national nonprofit provider of business resources and community support for women entrepreneurs building and growing their businesses. In these tough economic times, Sam’s Club is joining with Count Me In to recognize the innovation and job creation potential of small businesses and heighten women entrepreneurs’ role in the nation’s economy.

““We are thrilled to be partnering with Sam’s Club to support the growth of more women entrepreneurs across the country. By creating new jobs and generating revenue, these women are the backbone of their communities and the national economy,” said Count Me In’s Founder and CEO, Nell Merlino.

More than ten million women own businesses in the United States, yet 79% of them report revenues below $50,000. With this commitment from Sam’s Club, Count Me In will be able to expand its program to include women owned businesses with revenue sales below $50,000 up to $500,000. To launch the partnership, Count Me In will provide direct resources to assist 625 women through its business growth programs. Twenty five women business owners from around the country will receive a Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award Tuesday, Oct. 7 in Charlotte, NC at Count Me In’s Make Mine a Million $ Business™ event. The remaining 600 women will be announced soon.

The Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneur Award winners were selected based on their business profiles, their commitment to community and their personal development. Awardees will receive one-year of paid professional business coaching, free access to Count Me In’s educational resources and seminars (valued at over $7,000.00), and a Sam’s Club Business Membership, made through a separate donation from Sam’s Club. The winners will also benefit from inclusion in the Count Me In organization’s community of like-minded women entrepreneurs who inspire and mentor each other.

“Count Me In is making a difference for women business owners and the communities where they live and work,” said Sharon Orlopp, senior vice president, People Division at Sam’s Club. “We applaud the CMI mission and believe this investment will further their efforts to support the economic independence, professional development and the success of women.”

From accountants to organic food distributors, handcrafters to bodywork therapists, skincare product producers to civil engineering consultants, the Sam Walton Emerging Entrepreneurs represent a broad array of industries and professions across the country. Golden, Colorado-based dynamic duo Amy Lyn and Michelle Herbert own and operate Amy Michelle Baby Bags, a company that specializes in the creation and marketing of highly fashionable and functional baby bags. Amy and Michelle are not only burgeoning business owners; they are leaders in their community. Amy Michelle Baby Bags give up to 5% of their profits to Ronald McDonald Charities of Denver and believe that it is their responsibility to give back to the people and places that help them to grow. “The coaching we will receive will help us work on marketing and PR ideas – it will be useful to talk to someone who has been there before.” said Herbert.

About Sam’s Club®
Sam’s Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983. Today, Sam’s Club serves more than 47 million U.S. Members with locations nationwide and in Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Sam’s Club offers exceptional values on merchandise and services for business owners and consumers. Online merchandise and Club information is available at

About the Walmart Foundation
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. Through its philanthropic programs and partnerships, the Walmart Foundation supports initiatives focused on enhancing opportunities in education, job skills training, sustainability and health. In 2007, Walmart, Sam’s Club and the Walmart Foundation gave $296 million to communities across the United States. To learn more, visit

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.

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