WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Leaders of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S Department of Education celebrated National Small Business Week 2000 with a renewed commitment to working together to help young entrepreneurs. SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez and Department of Education Secretary Richard Riley signed an agreement here on May 24 committing the two government agencies to jointly promoting entrepreneurship skills among young people.

With a group of teenagers from the Philadelphia Youth Entrepreneurial Program looking on, Alvarez and Riley signed the agreement between the SBA and the Department of Education. The agreement supports the exchange of small-business information and training through the Department of Education's community technology centers (CTCs) across the country.

The CTCs strive to bring computers and technology to children and adults in low-income and rural areas. One hundred of these community technology centers currently exist nationwide, and with $32.5 million appropriated for the project in fiscal year 2000, the number of CTCs is slated to increase to 214.

Under the new agreemment, the SBA and Department of Education will promote entrepreneurship and business skills by spreading the SBA's resources and information through the CTCs. Alvarez said the agreement will facilitate the sharing of small-business information; give youths access to SBA online training resources and information; and help student entrepreneurs more readily access business training and technology.

"Access to technology is one of the reasons Imani has succeeded," said Riley of Imani Scott, an 11-year-old entrepreneur from Philadelphia. Her business, Imani Scott Accessories, which sells jewelry and scarves, was founded in 1997 with a $100 loan from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a New York-based nonprofit that teaches at-risk and low-income youth about entrepreneurship. With CTCs linked to SBA resources, Riley added, young people like Imani Scott will have the opportunity to access extensive online entrepreneurship resources.

Related content:
Want to read more about the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship? Inc. magazine has been covering the foundation's entrepreneurship education efforts since the 1980s. Read this classic, inspiring 1989 Inc. magazine interview with NFTE founder Steve Mariotti, on the transforming power of youth entrepreneurship.

Inc.com also features a discussion area specifically for young business owners, Zinc: For Young Entrepreneurs.

Related sites:
The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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