Mayor Rendell and Microsoft Announce $500,000 Technology Investment

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 10, 1998 — Philadelphia Mayor Edward G. Rendell and Microsoft Corp. Group Vice President for Sales and Support Jeff Raikes announced details of the Microsoft Philadelphia Electronic Commerce Initiative during a luncheon this afternoon with more than 600 area business, civic and education leaders.

Designed to be a driving force in developing the Philadelphia area as an Internet commerce leader, the Microsoft Philadelphia E-Commerce Initiative includes a $500,000 investment package of consulting, software and training grants to develop the necessary support infrastructure to help area companies discover new opportunities in e-commerce. The technology investment is being made available to Philadelphia-area nonprofit and educational organizations that are committed to working with businesses of all sizes to develop e-commerce strategies.

“It is exciting to work with leaders like Mayor Rendell,”
Raikes noted.

For the past several years, I’ve observed how in high-tech regions such as Seattle the growth of the technology industry has added thousands of jobs to the economy. Mayor Rendell and the business community in Philadelphia are taking the right steps to transform Philadelphia into an
e-commerce leader, and we are pleased to support this effort.”

Microsoft will also invest in Drexel University’s Safeguard Scientifics Center for
E-Commerce Management, a new project announced at the luncheon by Pamela Lewis, dean of Drexel’s business school. This technology investment complements and supports an additional commitment announced by Safeguard Scientifics, Wayne, Pa., a highly successful technology investment firm that will invest $1 million for Drexel to deliver a cutting-edge resource and research center for e-commerce. Microsoft will be the lead software provider in the center, providing Microsoft® software, training and consulting grants, in addition to a cash investment.

“The exponential growth of electronic commerce is producing tremendous managerial challenges for both long-standing successful corporations as well as newer start-up firms,”
Lewis said.
“We are excited at the prospect of being able to work with Safeguard Scientifics, Microsoft and other partners to help meet the challenges raised by the shift from industrial commerce to electronic commerce.”

“Electronic commerce offers unbelievable potential to those who know how to harness it,”
Raikes said.
“Microsoft’s commitment to Drexel’s e-commerce efforts will focus on developing new thinking on business-to-business e-commerce opportunities and help solve problems for companies seeking to open new online selling opportunities.”

The Honorable Mayor Edward G. Rendell attended the luncheon to discuss Philadelphia’s strategy to develop e-commerce as a key economic development theme.
“Microsoft’s commitments are an expression of the company’s confidence in the Philadelphia region as a premier location for the future growth of information technology,”
Rendell said.
“Microsoft’s efforts will greatly reinforce our own initiatives in Philadelphia to attract and grow technology and knowledge-based industries. We look forward to a strong relationship with Microsoft that will benefit the development of the city and the region as a hub for e-commerce.”

Philadelphia’s Director of Commerce Stephen P. Mullin highlighted what Microsoft’s initiatives could mean to Philadelphia.
“Because of Philadelphia’s wealth of institutions of higher learning, human capital, technology infrastructure, and innovative and diverse industries, the city has a tremendous opportunity to become a true leader in e-commerce,”
Mullin said.
“The investments by Microsoft will help us achieve this goal and will raise the global awareness of Philadelphia’s assets for applied technology to increase the competitiveness of our region’s businesses. We welcome Microsoft’s innovation and support in the development of a strategy to grow this segment of our economy.”

During the luncheon, titled The Next American Revolution: Digital Commerce Philadelphia, Raikes explained the impact on the local economy of expanding e-commerce. He demonstrated the successful e-commerce sites of local companies such as iQVC, WineAccess Inc., and Electronics Boutique, all of which have used e-commerce to create a competitive business edge in the digital marketplace.

Microsoft works with leading local e-commerce technology companies such as RDA Consultants Ltd., DataBase Solutions Inc., Group Cortex, and U.S. Interactive. These companies will join with Microsoft to support the Philadelphia E-Commerce Initiative through free e-commerce consulting workshops available to winners of an e-commerce business planning contest (details are available at ). Four companies will be selected, based on the strength of their e-commerce plans, to receive over $30,000 in Microsoft software, training and consulting delivered through these Microsoft Certified Solution Provider companies.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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