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July 26, 2000

Illinois to Participate in National Project to Promote Entrepreneurship

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois has been selected by the National Governors' Association to be one of just 10 member states to serve as a member of the Policy Academy on Building Entrepreneurship Capacity in the States. An Illinois team will take part in the project this fall designed to help states develop strategies that promote entrepreneurship.

"For Illinois, the timing of this couldn't be better," Ryan said. "With the creation of the state's new VentureTECH program as well as other new and reinvigorated economic development initiatives, Illinois is well positioned to promote and support entrepreneurial growth, more than ever before."

The National Governors' Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices, with support from the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (KCEL), is sponsoring the project.

Illinois will be joined by Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, Washington and Wyoming as participants in the policy academy project. Each governor will appoint a team of eight to ten senior staff, cabinet officials and entrepreneurs who will work together and share information and perspective with teams from other states.

Ryan has appointed Bridget Lamont, his policy director, to head the Illinois effort.

Twice over an 18-month period, select members of the state teams will convene for a an intensive three-day policy development exercise. Teams will also hold in-state planning meetings throughout the course of the project.

At the conclusion of the project, the NGA and the KCEL will host a national forum on entrepreneurship, bringing together governors and their policy advisors, legislators and entrepreneurs to engage in a dialogue about the importance of building entrepreneurial capacity in the states.

In the state's fiscal year 2001 budget, Ryan earmarked $200,000 for the Illinois Institute for Entrepreneurial Education at Illinois State University - doubling the state's investment from the previous year.

"Entrepreneurs are the engines of the New Economy," Ryan added. "They're creating many of the of the jobs, generating much of the wealth, and developing many of the new products and services that are driving Illinois' economy in this new millennium. This new effort will help us in our ongoing efforts to assist entrepreneurs in Illinois."


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