USHCC Foundation's Youth Entrepreneurship Program Goes Online and Interactive With $250,000 Verizon Grant

AUSTIN, Texas - The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) Foundation's signature Youth Entrepreneurship Program is going online - boosting the current face-to-face approach to a new interactive E-Learning level. The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is providing a $250,000 grant to fund this initiative.

The online learning and training capabilities will allow the program, which now reaches about 500 students annually, to serve Hispanic students nationwide who want to start their own businesses, according to the USHCC Foundation and the Verizon Foundation, which announced the grant today at the USHCC's 25th Annual National Convention & Business Expo at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas.

"This grant reflects our commitment to help organizations implement an E-Learning approach so that our youths develop the critical skills required in this broadband age to enhance their academic achievements and the quality of their lives," said Patrick R. Gaston, president of the Verizon Foundation. "The USHCC Foundation's approach is an innovative and exciting one, and we are very pleased to be a part of a program that will help produce tomorrow's Hispanic business leaders."

Frank Lopez, USHCC Foundation president, said, "The USHCC Foundation is excited to be partnering with the Verizon Foundation on such a resourceful project. Through the support of the Verizon Foundation, the USHCC Foundation will be able to move forward with an aggressive technology strategy that will benefit and grow the new generation of Latino youth entrepreneurs."

According to the USHCC Foundation, surveys show that 75 percent of Hispanic students want to start their own businesses. Additionally, Hispanics are starting businesses at a faster rate than any other segment of the population, which demonstrates the need for entrepreneurship training.

The project is an extension of the USHCC Foundation's Youth Entrepreneurship Program, which holds regional training camps called BizFest. Participants learn not only how to launch their own businesses, but also how to establish entrepreneurial and leadership goals, create plans for business and life, become effective leaders and team players, identify investment opportunities, and make public presentations.

The funding allows the USHCC Foundation to implement a number of changes in the current program, including transferring the written curriculum to a Web-based one and launching an e-mentoring program. The enhanced capabilities will be in place in 2005.

USHCC Foundation

The USHCC Foundation is committed to the purpose of giving Latino youth alternatives for life preparation and life-long learning by developing and implementing initiatives and educational campaigns to awaken and nurture the entrepreneurship spirit. The USHCC Foundation will leverage corporate and public support to ensure that Latino youth gain access and achieve success in the world of business. More information about the USHCC Foundation and the USHCC is available at www.ushccfoundation.org.

Verizon Foundation

The Verizon Foundation in 2003 awarded more than 21,000 grants totaling about $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.