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Let's Do Lunch

Giving new meaning to the term "power lunch"

Ever wish you could pick the brain of a famous and successful entrepreneur? In Good Company could give you the chance. If you're the highest bidder, you can have lunch with a powerful business owner or corporate CEO to not only enjoy good food, but also to share entrepreneurial know-how and create connections. The concept, the brainchild of entrepreneur Nancy Michaels, is simple: An up-and-coming entrepreneur bids on a lunch with a successful business owner via eBay.

Michaels launched Lexington, Massachusetts-based In Good Company to provide the gateway to the lunches and plans to donate proceeds to Count-Me-In (CMI), a New York City nonprofit that provides microloans to women entrepreneurs. CMI founder Nell Merlino has joined with Michaels in recruiting the CEOs for the lunches. "The potential is huge, not only in terms of the money that can be raised, but [also] in the business that can come out of it [for entrepreneurs]," says Michaels, also founder of Impression Impact, a business consulting and speaking company in Concord, Massachusetts, and Entrepreneur's "Ask the Expert" columnist. "Having a meal with somebody is one of the best ways to break down barriers."

Michaels got the idea after attending a women's business conference sponsored by Office Depot in 2002. She bid on a lunch with Office Depot CEO Bruce Nelson at a silent auction and won. "It was a great opportunity," she recalls. During the lunch, Michaels pitched her idea for a series of business seminars, presented by Impression Impact, in Office Depot stores around the country. Nelson loved the idea, and the seminars have since been very successful.

That lunch inspired Michaels to make the same opportunity available to others. At auctions scheduled to launch this month on eBay, bidders will vie for the ultimate power lunch with the likes of Nelson; Liz Lange, founder of Liz Lange Maternity; and George Naddaff, founder of Boston Chicken. For information on bidding dates and to see the list of lunching CEOs, check out

Stay tuned as we follow entrepreneurs who get the chance to lunch with prominent business leaders-and find out what they learn.

This story appears in the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »