Count Me In and Capital One Host Local Leadership Institute Focused on Helping Women Small Business Owners Innovate and Grow Their Businesses

Globally Renowned Innovator and Design Thinking Founder Bruce Mau to Share Best Practices for Unlocking Customer Insights and Innovating in a Rapidly Changing Marketplace
Apr 15, 2014 2:15 PM ET

McLean, Va., April 15, 2014 /3BL Media/ - To help more local small business owners innovate and compete in a rapidly changing marketplace, Capital One and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence will hold a “Leadership Institute: Thrive with Massive Change” event for local women-owned small businesses, featuring world-renowned expert design innovator Bruce Mau from April 15-17, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.

During the “Leadership Institute: Thrive with Massive Change” event, Mau will introduce the Design Thinking methodology, used by Fortune 500 companies, including Capital One, to the small business community. Local small business owners will have the opportunity to learn how they can apply Mau’s Design Thinking methodology -- based on a human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation -- to their products, services, or business design.

“At Capital One we’re using Design Thinking and its customer-focused approach to reimagine the way millions of people interact with their money to ensure that we’re building the products and experiences our customers need,” said Evelyn Huang, Director of Design Thinking and Strategy, Capital One. “By partnering with Count Me In to introduce Design Thinking to the small business community, we’re hoping to help more entrepreneurs unlock critical customer insights to accelerate innovation and fuel the growth of their small businesses.”

A recent Capital One survey found that 43 percent of small business owners in the Washington, DC, area are concerned about their ability to compete with larger businesses over the next five years.While local DC-area small businesses identify a lack of customer insights as one of their top hurdles to keeping pace with larger businesses in a rapidly changing marketplace, only 37 percent of DC-area small businesses said they conduct in-person feedback sessions with customers, only 16 percent conduct surveys of customers to get feedback on new products and prototypes, and 9 percent do not involve customers at all in the process of creating new products and prototypes, found the Capital One survey of local small business owners.

“Applying Mau’s innovative design principles and tools will inspire women entrepreneurs and will give them fresh perspective on how to approach problem-solving, expand their vision and build their double bottom line of growing a bigger, better business and a better life,” said Nell Merlino, President, Count Me In.  "We’re thrilled to partner with Mau and Capital One, who both share our commitment to empower women small business owners with invaluable insight and knowledge that will help them address their biggest business challenges.”


The Leadership Institute builds on Count Me In and Capital One’s partnership to support the growth of women-owned small business owners. Last year, Count Me In and Capital One launched the Women Veteran Entrepreneur Corps (WVEC), a training and mentorship program designed to help established women small business owners who are veterans, spouses/domestic partners, or daughters of veterans conquer daily business challenges and plan ahead for future growth and success.

“We recognize the critical role that our nation’s small businesses serve in economic recovery, and we’re committed to supporting small businesses at every stage of their journey – whether it’s directly through our products and services, or through innovative partnerships and programs like the Leadership Institute that provide tailored business training, mentoring, and other professional support and resources,” Huang added.


About Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence

Count Me In is the leading not-for-profit provider of business education and resources for women interested in growing their micro-businesses into million-dollar enterprises. Founded in 1999, the organization inspires and instructs thousands of women business owners online, at live events, and through peers, coaches and experts to significantly increase revenues and create new jobs. CMI has developed a reputation nationally and internationally for accelerating business growth and positioning women in the forefront of global economic recovery.  For more information on Count Me In programs and resources visit

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation, headquartered in McLean, Virginia, is a Fortune 500 company with more than 900 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Its subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One applies the same principles of innovation, collaboration and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. Capital One recognizes that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business and good places to raise families – benefits us all and Capital One is proud to support this and other community initiatives.


Survey Methodology


Small Business Survey

The findings reported in this release are from a telephone survey conducted by APCO Insight, the opinion research division of APCO Worldwide. APCO Insight completed 300 interviews with owners of Washington, D.C. for-profit businesses with under $10 million in annual revenue as reported by the respondent.  All interviews were conducted by telephone at their places of business.  One respondent per business was conducted. The interviews were conducted from March 18, 2014 – March 28, 2014. The margin of error for the small business strata is ± 5.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. In addition, 400 small businesses were polled in a national sample for the Small Business Barometer. The margin of error for the national small business poll is ± 4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Sampling for this study was conducted using a national sample of businesses drawn from InfoUSA.  All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system.  Statistical weights were designed from the United States Department of Commerce to ensure proper inclusion of all SIC codes.



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