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The AMEX CEO BootCamp for Women

The American Express CEO BootCamp for Women

Earlier this week, American Banker Magazine named its highest ranking women to include in its Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance series. Not surprisingly, Mary Callahan Erdoes, JPMorgan CEO, took top honors. But what if you’re not controlling billions of dollars and responsible for more than 100,000 jobs? Maybe you’re a small business owner struggling with many of the same problems your counterparts are or maybe you’re weighing all of your options before beginning a business? Either way, this program has great promise.

AMEX CEO BootCamp for Women

American Express OPEN, the small business division of American Express, just announced OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp. This is the first time any kind of program such as this has been developed. It teaches women entrepreneurs what it refers to as the “fundamental pillars for successful ventures”. Those pillars are the core of any successful effort and include competence, networking and confidence. Even better is American Express’s ability to rein in some of the most respected names in entrepreneurship.

This program has drawn visionaries, professors and small business experts to pave the way for these up and coming women. It’s designed for any women entrepreneur who wishes to participate; it promises to offer something for everyone and in any sector: business, finance, education, etc. It matters none about the size of her business or the revenue; if it’s guidance in the business world she’s seeking, this is where she will find it.

In the State of Women Owned Businesses Report, completed and released by American Express OPEN, the numbers reveal much about today’s contemporary business leaders. Over the past 6 years, and even as the economy has been kicked nine ways to Sunday, it was women who started their own businesses at a rate 150% higher than the national average. That equates to 175,000 new jobs added to the U.S. Economy. By taking those successes and building upon them, CEO BootCamp is looking as though it’s the total package.

OPEN Survey Findings

There’s another interesting facet associated with how the program was developed. The research is used to shape what the program ultimately becomes and further, OPEN didn’t miss an opportunity to commission a national survey of female entrepreneurs to identify obstacles and opportunities facing women business owners. Nearly 41 percent of women entrepreneurs surveyed agree that the most important factor in a successful business is the commitment to growing on both a personal and professional level. Just more than half, however, don’t identify with being a success.

Given our rich legacy in the women’s entrepreneurship space, and the existing need, the time is right to establish this program that speaks to the mindset of women entrepreneurs,

said Susan Sobbott, president, American Express OPEN.

CEO BootCamp can help women overcome obstacles that may be holding them back through highly focused programs on strategies for scaling their business and, in turn, increase the overall economic clout of women-owned businesses.

The program is designed to be an ongoing effort with those enrolled opting to participate in any given opportunity or not. To meet the variables, CEO BootCamp has partnered with, a free social networking site for professionals to mingle. They may join circles – or create them – in their efforts of connecting and networking. It also opens the door for massive educational resources, exclusive content and mentoring. Here they can create or join circles to connect with other women who share their same interests and passions. Through these circles, community members will have access to exclusive content as well as networking and mentoring opportunities.

Other findings include:

  • Just 26% of women entrepreneurs would agree they are “excellent” delegates
  • 70 percent say being hands on is crucial for success, but that it’s still a difficult landscape for women business owners than their male counterparts.
  • Only 29 percent of women believe they are efficient enough in their day to day efforts to keep up with the bookkeeping, marketing and sales methods while also attempting to balance their own lives.
  • Nearly half of women entrepreneurs say they possess excellent decision making skills
  • Only 26% say they are excellent negotiators
  • The vast majority agree that financing their companies to any degrees with credit cards isn’t wise and 80 percent say they would consider other sources besides credit cards to make purchases of less than $5,000 if they knew they couldn’t repay the balance within 30 days; however, close to 90 percent say they would use a credit card if they knew they could cover the balance within a month and if there were rewards points or purchase protection incentives.

AMEX Insight Guides

To further enhance the Amex program, OPEN has created a series of Insight Guides. This will be used for the purposes of delivering the CEO BootCamp curriculum to thousands of women business owners across the country.

I am pleased to learn of this new initiative to help prepare women chief executives around what we deem to be the three most necessary competencies of an effective business leader – confidence, competence and connections,

said Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., president and founder of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Possessing the self-assurance and optimism to grow a business, combined with having a fine-tuned skill set and developed ability to network, equate to the most successful business outcomes.

The official kick off took place at the New York City American Express Global Headquarters this week.

The Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN

Looking for a business credit card? The Business Platinum card from American Express OPEN is definitely one you should consider – whether you’re a small business owner or a female entrepreneur.

For a limited time, you can enjoy 25,000 Membership Rewards points. You’ll have to meet a $5,000 spend during the first 90 days of membership. Also, you’re given the opportunity to select a qualifying airline that you use most often for up to $200 in annual statement credits for things like checked bags and in flight snacks and drinks. Enjoy an additional 20 percent travel bonus when you use your membership Rewards Pay with Points and there are an additional 40 premium benefits that most business owners use or are considering. At more than 600 participating airport lounges, when you use your Priority Pass, you’ll enjoy complimentary access. Don’t forget about the Business Platinum Concierge; it’s like having your own travel assistant around the clock.

If there’s any shortcoming, it’s found in the annual fee, which is $450. If you use your American Express Business Platinum card often, you’ll likely discover the savings far outweigh the annual fee.

More About Amex OPEN

The OPEN program remains the first choice for small businesses around the country. Its purpose has always been to support business owners and entrpreneurs by providing financial products that are both beneficial and affordable. Countless businesses have grown in part by the resources the program offers.

Are you a woman entrepreneur? What are your concerns from a financial aspect as we prepare to close out 2013? Is there anything holding you back in terms of growing your business? The economy, maybe? Health care? Share your thoughts with us.

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