This week marks the first EntrepreneurshipWeek USA - Feb. 24-March 3, 2007. Congress established this observance last summer in an effort to raise awareness of the impact of small businesses.

The week was officially launched at Stanford University in California on Feb. 24. Activities designed to inspire, educate and prepare young people to consider entrepreneurship and innovation in all aspects of their lives are scheduled during the week in all 50 states and nearly every major city in the United States.

With the theme, "What's Your Big Idea? Take it On!," the EntrepreneurshipWeek USA initiative is designed to serve as an inspiration for young people to think creatively and to turn their ideas into action - whether that means starting a new business, developing an innovation for an existing company or solving a problem that makes society better. On a national basis, the week is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Inc. magazine, and The New York Times.

"Educating our young people about entrepreneurship and reinforcing the value that entrepreneurs and innovators bring to our economy is critical to America's long-term prosperity - more so now than ever before," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation.

According to Kauffman Foundation research, 41 percent of children ages 9 -12 say they would like to start their own business.

"Young people have a natural desire for the independence and control that come with owning a business and being their own boss," Schramm said.

Additionally, entrepreneurship is a driving force of the U.S. economy. During the past 15 years, businesses less than five years old have accounted for about 70 percent of the net job creation in the United States. However, while America presently maintains the edge as an entrepreneurial society, there are clear signs of massive economic competition from abroad.

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