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1/31/2011
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IBM To Invest $150 Million In U.S. Entrepreneurs

Big Blue will fund educational and mentoring services through President Obama's Startup America program.

IBM said Monday it plans to invest $150 million this year in programs designed to help U.S.-based entrepreneurs launch businesses around innovative new technologies.

"The investment will help us greatly expand the work we're doing to build business skills and provide market opportunities for the most innovative new companies in the country," said James Corgel, general manager for Developer and Academic Relations at IBM.

"These start-ups are tackling some of the country's most pressing challenges and opportunities," said Corgel. IBM is providing the funds through the Startup America Partnership, an initiative started by President Obama that aims to create jobs through innovation and entrepreneurialism. The organization is chaired by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Funds from IBM's investment will be used to provide coaching and mentoring services for startups, launch educational and skill-building programs in collaboration with academic institutions and venture capitalists, and assist software developers in finding new business opportunities.

"IBM has a unique business model when it comes to working with VCs and entrepreneurs," said Promod Haque, managing partner and Norwest Venture Partners.

"We have worked closely with IBM for more than a decade to identify trends, partnerships, and potential new businesses. This new investment will greatly accelerate our ongoing collaboration with IBM as we are both deeply committed to fostering innovation in the U.S," said Haque.

Among the new U.S. startups working with IBM are Streetline, a San Francisco-based developer of technology that lets drivers locate inexpensive parking spots in urban areas, Sproxil, of Boston, which has developed a system lets users spot counterfeit drugs with their cell phones, and Florida's CareCloud, which provides cloud-based back office services for healthcare practitioners.

IBM just launched its 2011 Skills Tour, a series of traveling workshops that will visit 15 colleges and universities around the country over the next 100 days.

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