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Kauffman Foundation Launches New National Entrepreneurship Training Program to Kick Start Job Creation in the Face of Growing Layoffs

New York City Is the First to Begin Using the FastTrac LaunchPad Initiative for City's Laid Off Workers and Struggling Businesses; Deluxe Corporation Foundation Provides $500,000 in Funding to Help Expand Program Nationwide

KANSAS CITY, MO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/18/09 -- Today, Carl Schramm, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation president and CEO, announced a $1 million initiative to offer the FastTrac LaunchPad entrepreneurial training programs in communities across the nation that have been hit hard by layoffs and the recession. The Kauffman Foundation is partnering with the Deluxe Corporation Foundation, which has provided $500,000 in funding, to bring this new national initiative to communities across the nation. The first FastTrac LaunchPad program, which will begin in New York in March, was announced today by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part New York's broader plan to bolster the city economy. Other hard-hit communities around the nation are scheduled to launch similar programs in the weeks to come.

"Entrepreneurs will be the foundation of our nation's economic recovery because they start and grow businesses that create jobs. The Kauffman Foundation is dedicated to providing practical tools for entrepreneur training and development to fuel this recovery," said Carl Schramm, Kauffman Foundation president and CEO. "The FastTrac LaunchPad initiative offers an incredible opportunity for communities across the nation, local entrepreneurs and small business owners to build businesses and create jobs."

FastTrac is a premier business development program of the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation, the largest organization in the nation solely focused on entrepreneurial success at all levels. FastTrac has been operating for 15 years, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs have participated in FastTrac programs throughout all of the United States to learn how to start and grow new businesses.

In light of the accelerating unemployment throughout the nation, the FastTrac LaunchPad initiative was designed as an intensive effort to train entrepreneurs and get the economy moving again. The FastTrac LaunchPad programs are designed for people who have lost their jobs or entrepreneurs whose businesses are struggling in this tough economy. To help emerging and struggling entrepreneurs get a quicker start, the FastTrac LaunchPad programs are offered shorter time periods than the normally offered ten-week course schedule.

"It is an honor to partner with the Kauffman Foundation, committing resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs grow and thrive," said Lee Schram, president, Deluxe Corporation Foundation. "The Deluxe Corporation Foundation has a long history of giving to programs that will make a meaningful and significant difference in communities. In the current economic climate, we cannot think of a more meaningful program than FastTrac LaunchPad, supporting individuals and communities on the road back to financial stability."

Several cities and states are already on the path to bring the FastTrac LaunchPad initiative to their communities. New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced today that FastTrac LaunchPad would be among a number of initiatives the city is using to jumpstart the economy in New York. The states of Michigan and West Virginia, also hard hit by layoffs, are implementing the programs, along with new efforts in Kokomo, Indiana, and Philadelphia. Right Management will be offering the FastTrac LaunchPad programs to displaced workers through the outplacement services offered by the company in Midwestern states, starting in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota.

The FastTrac LaunchPad initiative includes two programs: FastTrac NewVenture, which offers training and education focused on exploring the start-up of a business; and FastTrac GrowthVenture, which helps current business owners learn how to best navigate the challenges of their existing small business. (See fact sheet for more information on the two programs).

Research indicates that former employees are often receptive to starting a new business during a recession. A Kauffman Foundation-funded U.S. Census Bureau study released in January reports that startup companies are a major contributor to job creation. The Business Dynamic Statistics (BDS) also indicate that while business startups decline slightly in most of the cyclical downturns, startups remain robust even in the most severe recession over the sample period (in the early 1980s). For more research data points, see enclosed fact sheet.

Joe Runyan is an example of someone who benefited from the FastTrac programs directly. After being laid off from Sprint a few years ago, Runyan saw a market opportunity while having a beer in a pub, thinking about the CO2 process used in making beer. He took the FastTrac NewVenture course to develop a business plan to start his business, Hangers Cleaners. By using a special, patented CO2 formula to clean clothes instead of toxic chemicals, Hangers Cleaners is now the only eco-friendly dry cleaner option in Kansas City. Today, the company has 13 locations across the city, yet Runyan found that most of his customers use a pick-up and delivery service that comes directly to their homes.

"FastTrac NewVenture helped me with all the preliminary work and an understanding of everything I needed to do to get my business off the ground. I had critical access to seasoned entrepreneurs and other experts who continued to be valuable resources and serve as mentors long after I launched the business," Runyan said.

For more information about the FastTrac LaunchPad Initiative, please visit www.kauffman.org.

About The Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit: www.kauffman.org.

About the Deluxe Corporation Foundation

The Deluxe Corporation Foundation is a grant-giving institution that has partnered with educational, cultural and human service nonprofit organizations for more than 50 years to enrich the communities of Deluxe Corporation employees. An independent 501(c)(3) organization, the Deluxe Corporation Foundation has received funding from Deluxe Corporation to support its mission of giving back to the communities it serves.

Deluxe Corporation, through its industry-leading businesses and brands, helps financial institutions and small businesses better manage, promote, and grow their businesses. The Company uses the Internet, direct marketing, distributors, and a North American sales force to provide a wide range of customized products and services: provides marketing, Web and design services, promotional products and merchandising materials, personalized printed items (checks, forms, business cards, stationery, greeting cards, labels, and retail packaging supplies), fraud prevention services, and customer retention programs. For more information about Deluxe, visit www.deluxe.com.

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For more information, contact:
Joy Torchia
Kauffman Foundation
816-932-1045
Email Contact

David Vermillion
Edelman
917-892-9332
Email Contact

Nicki Gibbs
Deluxe Corporation Foundation
651-789-2234
Email Contact

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