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Press Release: President Clinton Announces the Expansion of the Urban Enterprise Initiative

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President Clinton Announces the New Class of Small Businesses in the Harlem Community Participating in the Initiative and Also Unveils Partnerships with the Orfalea Family Foundation, USC Marshall School of Business, and Inc. Magazine.

President Bill Clinton announced today three new programs of his Foundation’s Urban Enterprise Initiative: the naming of the new participants in the small business consulting program; the expansion of the small business program to Los Angeles in conjunction with the Orfalea Family Foundation and the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business; and a partnership with Inc. Magazine to provide entrepreneurial mentors.

The Urban Enterprise Initiative, formerly named the Small Business Initiative, is an innovative program to support the expansion of opportunity and economic growth in urban communities by helping small businesses and entrepreneurs compete in the changing urban marketplace. To date the program has provided more than 50,000 hours of pro bono technical assistance – valued at more than $10 million in professional service fees. Harlem Lanes, the first bowling alley in Harlem and the site of today’s announcement, is one of the businesses that has benefited from this program. The Initiative helped owner Sharon Joseph develop the business plan for the venture. President Clinton announced today the new class of Harlem small business owners who will be participating in the Initiative. They include: restaurants, a women’s retail store, a hair salon, veterinary clinic, an architecture firm, a real estate firm, and a record store. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has agreed to serve as the program’s pro bono law firm. Booz Allen Hamilton, New York University’s Stern School of Business, the New York chapter of the National Black MBA Association and others will continue to serve as critical partners.

“Small businesses are the cornerstone of the American economy and I am pleased that my Foundation can contribute to the expansion and success of small businesses here in Harlem,” said President Clinton. “This bowling alley is just one example of the businesses that this program has helped get off the ground and contribute to its surrounding community.”

Furthering his Foundation’s commitment to domestic initiatives throughout the United States, President Clinton also announced a partnership between the Clinton Foundation and Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea in conjunction with the USC’s Marshall School of Business. The program, called: USC Impact LA: The Clinton Foundation-Orfalea Urban Enterprise Initiative, combines the outreach resources of the Clinton Foundation together with the financial resources of the Orfalea Family Foundation to offer technical and managerial assistance to small business owners and non-profit organizations in Los Angeles to help them compete in the changing urban marketplace.

“I am so happy that my Foundation is working with the Orfalea Family Foundation and USC to help us grow our Urban Enterprise Initiative,” President Clinton said. “Not only does this partnership bring great services to small businesses and non-profit organizations around the Los Angeles community, but it will also give undergraduate and graduate students at the Marshall School a chance to both learn and serve the community by working side-by-side with experienced professionals, business owners and non-profit leaders.”

Also contributing to the Urban Enterprise Initiative, Inc. magazine will help entrepreneurs with the potential to create the next generation of great Harlem brands and world famous businesses to access the ideas and advice they need to take their businesses to scale, increase jobs and economic opportunity in their community, and develop as business and community leaders. Through this partnership, participants in the program will gain access to Inc.’s network of successful entrepreneurs and be able to tap into the magazine’s ideas and information sources.

“Inc. magazine knows what it takes for an entrepreneur to be successful,” President Clinton said. “I am pleased that they are helping our entrepreneurs realize even greater levels of success which will bring more jobs and economic opportunity to the community.”

President Clinton has long been committed to helping small businesses grow and succeed. As President, he worked to expand economic opportunity in distressed urban communities through projects such as his new markets initiative, empowerment zone and enterprise community program. Since leaving the White House and moving to Harlem in 2001, President Clinton and his Foundation have been active in the Harlem community and have worked with local businesses to adjust to the changing urban marketplace to ensure that they have the opportunity to compete and succeed.

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