SOURCE: Mirassou Winery

September 13, 2007 05:12 ET

Mirassou Winery® Announces $50,000 Award to Help Start a "Dream" Business

"Make Your Dreams Come True With Mirassou" Provides Female Entrepreneur With Seed Money, Professional Consultants to Start Dream Business

HEALDSBURG, CA--(Marketwire - September 13, 2007) - The dream of a lifetime will come true for one lucky aspiring businesswoman this year. "Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou" will award $50,000 to a budding female entrepreneur. Mirassou will also provide a team of professional consultants, including a business and marketing plan writer, graphic designer, financial planner, and legal expert, as well as mentoring from an experienced entrepreneur from the National Association of Women Business Owners® (NAWBO®).

Mirassou is a longtime supporter of women-owned businesses, and the "Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou" contest signifies the evolution of Mirassou's support during the past three years. Since obtaining capital is the No. 1 obstacle women face in starting their own businesses, applying for the "Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou" program is just the right step toward obtaining start-up funds.

This year, Mirassou has added Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin, author of "How to Run Your Business Like a Girl" to its "dream team" as one of the contest judges. Elizabeth is a self-confessed "serial-entrepreneur" who has run two advertising agencies, a corporate resource company and a book-packaging company. In her book, she shares stories of more than 35 successful entrepreneurs, including their often haphazard paths to success.

"I am thrilled to be a part of 'Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou,' which will help a female entrepreneur launch her dream business," said Cogswell Baskin. "The best part of being an entrepreneur is being able to run your own business, but it can also be scary when you don't have a group to help you. What's fantastic about the Mirassou program -- besides the $50,000 -- is the support of experts to help guide the business. Funds and expert support are essential tools to launch a successful company."

Mirassou's dedication to supporting female entrepreneurs stems from the family's six-generation legacy. As America's oldest winemaking family, the Mirassous have depended on the optimistic vision of the women of the family. In the late 1800s, second-generation Henrietta Mirassou became a widow early in life, leaving her to manage the family business and teach her young sons the art of winemaking. Even when she remarried and her new husband wanted to move, Henrietta refused, stating that her father's dream of a family winemaking business would live on through her and her sons.

"I am so pleased that Mirassou Winery continues to support optimistic women who dream about running their own businesses," said David Mirassou, a sixth-generation family member. "Our original winery overcame numerous challenges to survive six generations, and credit is due to my great-great grandmother, Henrietta Mirassou, and the tenacity of a long line of strong women who became business leaders long before that was common."

Female entrepreneurs were rare in the 1800s, but today more than 10.4 million women own businesses in the United States. These companies generate $1.9 trillion in annual sales and employ 12.8 million people nationwide, according to the Center for Women's Business Research.

The "Make Your Dreams Come True with Mirassou" contest is open to women who aspire to open a new business. To enter, applicants must submit a personal essay of 500 words or less describing themselves and why they think they would make a successful entrepreneur. A preliminary business plan will also be required and should include: 1) a description of the new business, 2) the consumer appeal to the new business, and 3) a plan to implement the new business. Applicants can go to www.mirassou.com to enter and receive full details.

Each applicant must be a U.S. resident, at least 21 years of age and not a current business owner. For more information, visit www.mirassou.com. Applications must be received by Dec. 15, 2007.

About Mirassou Winery: The Mirassou family has been growing grapes and crafting superior wines since 1854, earning them the proud distinction of being America's oldest winemaking family. The family has always been known as innovators -- introducing Pinot Noir to California and planting wine grapes in the fertile soil of Monterey County. Today, the Mirassou wine style is light, refreshing and fruit-forward -- a perfect match for business and pleasure.

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