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June 1, 2000

Governor Announces E-Commerce Expansion

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Starbelly.com, Inc., will continue to call Illinois home, retaining 100 employees with plans to hire an additional 400 workers.

"This is yet another high-tech success story for the state," Ryan said. "Just like Starbelly.com is making the transition from traditional manufacturing to e-commerce, so too is Illinois adapting to meet the needs of businesses competing in the new economy."

The State of Illinois, through the Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA), is providing Starbelly.com with $425,000 in job training assistance over two fiscal years through the Industrial Training Program (ITP). Businesses receiving funds through ITP must match the state grant. The company is also eligible for EDGE (Economic Development Through a Growing Economy) tax credits.

"ITP is one of our most popular programs," said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. "Governor Ryan's continued support of funds for these grants allows Illinois to meet the workforce needs of fast growing companies like Starbelly.com, regardless of whether they are in high-tech fields or traditional manufacturing."

Starbelly.com, which was recently acquired by HA-LO Industries, Inc., is the nation's leading business-to-business e-commerce marketer of custom branded merchandise. The company is utilizing the Internet in conjunction with its existing manufacturing operations.

"Starbelly.com's sophisticated Internet business model combined with HA-LO's market leadership and customer relationships, provides a strong foundation for accelerated growth," said Brad Keywell, President of HA-LO Industries, Inc. "We are excited about growing our businesses and doing so in the State of Illinois."


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