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AIG Supports Women’s Entrepreneurship with $1.1 Million Donation to Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence

Two-year Commitment Expands Loan Capacity and Helps Women Grow Their Businesses

New York (October 26, 2006) – A global champion of entrepreneurship and risk-taking today added its powerful voice and $1.1 million in cash to the cause of women's entrepreneurship in the United States. AIG, the insurance and financial services leader, joined the Make Mine a $Million Business (www.makemineamillion.org) movement from Count Me In and OPEN from American Express® to help one million women entrepreneurs achieve $1 million in revenues by 2010. As part of the two-year commitment, AIG will support the micro-lending activities of Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, the leading provider of on-line micro-business loans and resources for women.
AIG's Gretchen Hayes, President, Strategic Relationship Group (in red) and Teri Watson, Managing Director, Rating Agencies, served as judges for the women entrepreneurs competition at Make Mine a $Million Business™ New York.
Count Me In and Founding Partner OPEN from American Express introduced the Make Mine a $Million Business program to help women entrepreneurs grow their businesses, develop innovative products and services and create jobs. Make Mine a $Million Business is a national movement inspiring one million women entrepreneurs to reach one million dollars in revenue by the year 2010. Since launching this movement and national call to action in March 2006, more than 11,000 women have already joined the community and declared their intent to build million-dollar enterprises.

“We know from our work all over the world that women are critical to both economic and social development, and that support for women's entrepreneurship is an effective and sustainable mechanism to improve the quality of life in communities across the globe.” said Ned Cloonan, vice president of international and corporate affairs, AIG. “Our investment in Count Me In focuses on the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the United States. We are proud to partner with Count Me In and join OPEN from American Express to help women access the capital and resources they need to grow their businesses.”

"I am proud to join Count Me In, OPEN from American Express and all of the sponsors in celebrating AIG's commitment of $1.1 million to the Count Me In loan fund, for education and training programs and for the Make Mine a $Million Business competition," said Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. "I was glad to have been able to introduce AIG and Count Me In to one another -- because this is so worthy a cause, it is hard not to say, 'count me in'.”

AIG is also adding an important new dimension to the Make Mine a $Million Business program by providing awardees with customized small business insurance and financial planning services; direct access to expert counselors from AIG partner Work and Family Benefits, Inc., who will advise on work/life issues to help awardees manage family responsibilities (i.e. child and elder care) while growing their high-potential businesses; and a Pitney Bowes Stamp Expressions printer.

“AIG recognizes the challenges women face building a business and we are delighted that they are the newest member in the constellation of corporate partners to join OPEN and Count Me In in supporting women entrepreneurs,” said Susan Sobbott, president, OPEN from American Express. “This partnership is great example of how the Make Mine a $Million Business movement is resonating with corporate America in support of women business owners across the country.”

“Women business owners are leading the way in building companies and creating jobs,” said Nell Merlino, founder and chief executive officer, Count Me In. “AIG joining the Make Mine a $Million Business movement will help protect women against personal and professional challenges that occur when they are growing a successful business.”

About AIG

American International Group, Inc. (AIG), world leaders in insurance and financial services, is the leading international insurance organization with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional and individual customers through the most extensive worldwide property-casualty and life insurance networks of any insurer. For more information please visit www.aig.com.

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 www.countmein.org or call 212-245-1245.

About OPEN from American Express®

OPEN® 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 OPEN.com, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.

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

Media Contacts:
Mark Schroeder
M Booth & Associates for
Count-Me-In and OPEN from American Express


Joe Norton
American International Group (AIG)


Rosa Alfonso
OPEN from American Express