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February 08, 2006

The AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., is promoting the development of young Latin American entrepreneurs by funding an innovative, technology-based program with a US$75,000 grant to Junior Achievement Worldwide.

"Emprendedor Latino" is an Internet-based competition that will enable more than 2,500 students to make simulated management decisions and run their own virtual company while receiving advisement from AT&T executives as well as from representatives of other participating organizations.

"Through Emprendedor Latino, the AT&T Foundation offers to enterprising young people the challenge to build up abilities in a climate of healthy competition," said John Slamecka, AT&T Vice President for Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. He added that AT&T is committed to the development of the entrepreneurial spirit in Latin American youth.

"AT&T sees it as essential to encourage the business environment by supporting these projects and offering solutions to promote economic development in the region," Slamecka said.

Each virtual company will consist of a five-member team, which will name and found its own virtual business and become its managers. These companies will create a new virtual product, related to technology, and manage its production and marketing. Each company's performance will be evaluated weekly, according to the simulator's pre-established parameters.

The program will help serve the mission of Junior Achievement Worldwide, which is to give young people from all social levels access to the technological resources to achieve their educational and economical goals. Thus, more than 2,500 young people will gain experience in the creation and management of a virtual company with international quality standards and face the same challenges and management difficulties encountered by real executives.

"It will be fascinating to analyze how the participants face real problems and present solutions to develop their virtual companies," said David Chernow, president and CEO of Junior Achievement Worldwide. He added that AT&T has been an active sponsor of Junior Achievement in Latin America, particularly of projects that encourage young people to reach their maximum potential and raise their level of participation in technology sector.

The majority of participants in Emprendedor Latino are expected to come from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, although the competition is open to entrants from all Latin American countries. Students, age 23 and under, from colleges and universities in the region can take part in this project. Enrollment is free of charge at www.emprendedorlatino.org. Registration for the first round of selection closes on Wednesday, March 15, 2006.

Each member of the team judged to have the best managed project overall will receive a computer equipment package. Each member of the second-place team will be awarded with an Apple iPod, and members of the third-place team will receive a subscription to America Economia magazine.

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