High-School Students Participate in “Making the Business: Youth IT Challenge” and Vie for $15,000 in Prizes

NEW YORK — June 2, 2005 — Students from nine cities will compete June 7 for the 2nd annual Making the Business: Youth IT Challenge competition sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and the National Urban League at the historic Apollo Theater. Special guests will include celebrity advocate Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

Making the Business: Youth IT Challenge is a 10-week program designed to engage minority youths age 14 through 18 in the development of an original IT-based business. Participating students receive hands-on training in the development of a Web-based business and a business plan from IT professionals and business owners. Students also learn about existing opportunities in the technology field.

“The National Urban League and Microsoft are working together to increase technology awareness and entrepreneurial skills among young minority students,” said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. “We recognize that preparing youths to succeed and flourish in a technologically advanced future requires collaboration between the public and private sectors, and we are working together to help these youths realize their potential.”

“By providing urban high-school students with exposure to the real-life experience of developing a Web-based business, Microsoft hopes to inspire young minority students to become the IT executives of tomorrow,” said Tanya Clemons, corporate vice president for People and Organizational Capability at Microsoft and board member for the National Urban League. “We are committed to the advancement of minorities in the IT field and will continue to work with the National Urban League to create solutions that enable lifelong learners.”

High-school teams will present their business plans to a distinguished panel of judges. The winning team will receive $15,000 in prizes.

“Our students are excited to participate in a program and competition of this magnitude,” Morial said. “For many of our students, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. They are acquiring skills that will help them advance to a university, become IT professionals and become our future business leaders.”

The following nine teams are competing for the national title:

  • Team District Couture from Washington, D.C., will present an online advertising site for small urban fashion vendors.

  • Team Breakthru from Philadelphia will present an online peer resolution training system.

  • Team Search It! from Seattle will present a customized search engine for scholarships, grants and loans for college-bound students, educators and organizations.

  • Team EMDP from Pittsburgh will present an online layaway service plan for customers who want to defer their payments over a minimal term.

  • Team Vertex Learning from New York will present an online learning tool that would provide classroom textbooks in eBook format for Tablet PCs and that would include a link to a learning community that connects schools, professors, publishers and students.

  • Team DallasFoodStreet.com from Dallas will present an online service that provides restaurant and food reviews for residents and tourists in the Dallas Metroplex area.

  • Team Jnreau from Denver will present an online business offering to paint fashionable, creative and unique designs on clothing. The company uses the Internet to market and display to youths age 12 through 20.

  • Team C!T Systems from Los Angeles will present an integrated identification card system for public schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

  • Team Academic Par Excellence from St. Paul, Minn., will present an online educational service targeting ninth- through 12th-grade students that provides Web-based tutorial programs for the ACT Assessment and the PSAT.

“The National Urban League and its local affiliates are natural partners for this program because of the organization’s emphasis on economic self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial empowerment,” Clemons said. “The Making the Business: Youth IT Challenge is part of a long-standing collaboration between Microsoft and the National Urban League.”

About the National Urban League

Established in 1910, The Urban League is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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