Nell Merlino (Photo: Jackie Johnson) There's help for women business owners in Wisconsin to cross that million-dollar threshold.

The founder of "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" says she initially didn't get a lot of help with her new idea – Make Mine a Million Dollar Business  – to provide the resources necessary for women entrepreneurs to generate a million dollars in annual revenue.

Nell Merlino's company – Count Me In – makes micro-business loans available to female small business owners, as well as mentoring and marketing. A New York-based company called " OPEN from American Express " jumped at the chance to help women's growing businesses. 

After first testing the program to contenders nationwide, Michelle Thompson-Dolberry says OPEN decided to focus the program to participants on a statewide level, and they chose Wisconsin as the first state, because this is the fastest growing segment of the economy.

Since its inception in 2005, 16-hundred women have applied to the Make Mine a Million Dollar Business program. Hundreds of Wisconsin women entrepreneurs gathered at the Concourse Hotel Monday, seeking advice and funds.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:40 MP3)

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