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AKRON -- Organizers at Akron's Firestone Country Club say they're ready for the Bridgestone Invitational to begin Wednesday.

Golf's top stars will spend the week battling it out for a $1.4 million top prize. But it's not just about what's happening on the course.

It's not a board room, but the Bridgestone Invitational may be even a better place to make a deal.

"Golf is a sport obviously, but it's all about business. When you come out here, it's about networking, entertaining your clients or your customers and meeting people from other organizations," said April Miller Boise.

Miller Boise works with Vance Technologies. She's one of 200 women at the first-ever Executive Women's Day, a chance for the ladies to network around golf the same way the guys have for years.

"It's not just for the big corporate sponsors, but there are opportunities for smaller businesses," said Deborah Owens, an associate marketing professor at the University of Akron.

"It's a great opportunity for face time with clients, or prospects. Some companies reward employees by bringing them out to see the golf tournament. So we've got a good thing going," said Don Padgett, executive director of World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational. "Referrals and word of mouth from our current clients help."

Corporate sponsorships are up, and event organizers are expecting the highest revenue in the tournament's 59-year history.

"It's a great way to showcase Northeast Ohio, all the great things that we have going on here," said Padgett. "It's a great thing for the area."

And it's a big money maker. A recent economic study showed the tournament adds up to more than $21 million in economic impact each year. And it's an opportunity for the world's eyes to be on Akron, with television coverage in 220 countries.

"It keeps us on the global map," as the polymer capital of the world said Miller Boise. "I think it reminds people of that history, and it demonstrates to them all the great things and the positive things that are going on in our region."

About $800,000 each year is reinvested in area nonprofits. Those funds have already benefitted more than 200 charities.

Tickets are still available. You can find out more by clicking here. Youth 18 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Active and reserve military members and their families also have free admission.

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