Defining a Dream

Resources for Women

Are you in desperate need of a bag to carry around your laptop--but you want your fashion sense to shine through? Check out these fun and funky laptop cases from three entrepreneurial companies.

The Big Steve Collection from Case Closed Bags is a funky, tailored line. Ranging from $149 to $240, the nylon or leather bags have plenty of pockets and interior foam padding. Shown in rust Chinese, the line also comes in black, sky blue, khaki green, red and black-and-white pinstripe with a white flower. Check out the Neal, Sam and Bob collections at www.caseclosedbags.com for lower-priced and more casual options.

The $25o Tweedy Pie bag from melissa beth designs is a throwback to 1960s high fashion. Available in bubble gum, ice cream and mint, it sports a tweed exterior with leather trim as well as a removable, foam-padded interior sleeve. Measuring 16-by-13-by-5.75 inches, the tote is large enough to use as a day bag and hold a change of clothes. For other classic options, take a look at the What-a-Croc, Get Off My Case and Pocket Full of Puter lines at www.melissabethdesigns.com.

Denyn Sleeve by MARKA is a chic bag of quilted Italian leather with thick interior padding. The $595 espresso or black bag with beige accents includes a removable wallet, a pouch for power cords, a small mirror and slots for pens and lip glosses. Visit www. markaonline.com to find other stylish lines like Charlie Case, Vincent Voyager and Corwin Tote, which are all named after the designers' ex-boyfriends.

Open Season
As women-owned businesses grow at a phenomenal rate, OPEN, the small business team at American Express, is providing services and resources for these businesses. OPEN has long had partnerships with women's business groups such as the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Women's Leadership Exchange. Recently, in partnership with Count Me In, a micro-lending organization for women entrepreneurs, OPEN has also launched the Make Mine a $Million Business Award to boost revenue for the 20 women-led companies that receive the award. "We're working to identify women in key markets to provide them with access to money, a dream team of business advisors and great marketing expertise. We want to give them the resources to bring their businesses to that million-dollar-plus level," says Susan Sobbott, president of OPEN.

Visit OPEN's Women's Business Initiative website for information on the myriad products and services available. Whether you're making business decisions or balancing a company and family life, OPEN hopes to make the experience a bit easier. "[As] the daughter of an entrepreneur, I understand the challenges of running a business," says Sobbott. "I [am] also a mother of two, so I have some empathy for other mothers who are leading businesses themselves."--Nichole L. Torres

Women's Resources

April Y. Pennington, Nichole L. Torres and Sara Wilson are staff writers for Entrepreneur magazine. Steve Cooper is the research editor for Entrepreneur magazine. Chris Penttila is Entrepreneur's "Smart Moves" columnist. David Worrell is author of Finding Funding.
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This article was originally published in the December 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Defining a Dream.

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