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April 2, 2003

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania and La Salle University Launch New Entrepreneurship Program to Promote High-Tech, Product-Focused Businesses

Undergraduate and graduate students at La Salle University will have access to a $10,000 investment to help them develop high-technology, innovation-based, and product-focused businesses through Tech-Invest, a new entrepreneurship challenge grant program launched by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) and La Salle.

"Ben Franklin's partnership with La Salle University is consistent with our mission to develop and support innovative programs that capitalize on regional strengths such as institutions of higher learning and the reservoir of human capital that they attract," notes RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and CEO, BFTP/SEP.

"La Salle is proud to work with our alumni, benefactors and Ben Franklin to fashion Tech-Invest," said Marsha Timmerman, a professor in La Salle's Integrated Science, Business and Technology (ISBT) program. "By combining our respective organizations' entrepreneurial development resources, we create a well-rounded partnership with a solid win/win outcome."

Tech-Invest is the latest addition to BFTP/SEP's strategy to link talent and resources to promote the growth of the region's knowledge economy. Other components of BFTP/SEP's efforts in this area include:

-Customized lectures and special presentations at area colleges and universities;

-Support for The Wistar Institute's award-winning Biomedical Technician Training Program;

-Seed capital and incubation support for CampusPhilly, an initiative dedicated to attracting students to regional colleges and institutions and retaining them post graduation;

-Joint sponsorship of the Venture Internship Program at Muhlenberg College;

-Support for the development of High Tech High School's entrepreneurial curriculum;

-Co-founder of the Ben Franklin/ITT Technical Institute Scholarship.

La Salle University has a long history of administering premier entrepreneurial programs, including:

-The University's School of Business Administration (SBA) ran a very successful Small Business Development Center for nearly three decades. The Center subsequently merged with Temple University's Center;

-Graduate assistants have supported neighborhood entrepreneurial and economic development endeavors since the mid-1990s;

-The ECommerce Institute was launched in 1999;

-La Salle's "Entrepreneurship and High Technology Business" course is specifically designed to teach entrepreneurship from the technologists' perspective;

-The three-year-old chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) promotes entrepreneurship through special outreach and community education programs.

The first recipient of the Tech-Invest challenge grant program is slated to be announced in early summer 2003.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is dedicated to growing the region through science, technology and entrepreneurship. Now commemorating 20 years of innovation excellence, BFTP/SEP provides entrepreneurs and established businesses the capital, talent, and expertise they need to compete. Like its namesake, BFTP/SEP invests in, builds upon and delivers solutions that grow communities and create new wealth by supporting today's technological ideas and tomorrow's scientific discovery.