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Jim Moran Institute at Florida State University Receives $1.8 Million Donation

August 5, 2008

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship at Florida State University (FSU) has received a $1.8 million gift to bolster the school's College of Business' services, especially to economically disadvantaged communities in South Florida.

The donation given by Jan Moran, JM Family Enterprises Inc., and The Jim Moran Foundation, will provide $600,000 annually for the next three years.

"At the age of 7 my husband, Jim, became an entrepreneur selling soda pop at ball games and by the age of 19 owned his first gas station, so he knew what it meant to work hard, make sacrifices, and prepare for the future," said Jan Moran, chairman and president of The Jim Moran Foundation and senior vice president of JM Family Enterprises. "I know Jim would be very happy that this new gift will continue to provide those who otherwise could not afford it an opportunity to establish and build their own businesses at no cost."

Jim Combs, the Jim Moran Professor of Management and executive director of the Institute, said the gift will help FSU build a world-class undergraduate entrepreneurship major and expand training programs into South Florida with a special focus on underserved populations who may lack the knowledge and support to start a business.

"Part of the expanded outreach will occur by greatly increasing our Web presence as well as our outreach in Southeast Florida," Combs said. "We hope to build a place where entrepreneurs can find easily accessible videos, podcasts, free advice and direction to resources in their local communities."

FSU's College of Business aims to have its undergraduate program ranked in the top 10 of all entrepreneurship programs by external organizations. The gift also allows FSU to redesign its entrepreneurship curriculum.

"Sophomores will work in small groups to start, run, and harvest microbusinesses," Combs said. "Seniors will have the opportunity to work with inventors from around campus to conduct feasibility studies, write business plans and build trade show displays."

Other benefits made possible by the gift include:

· Increased mentoring of students by entrepreneurs;

· More classroom visits by entrepreneurs;

· Certificate programs for potential future entrepreneurs now majoring in diverse fields, such as chemistry, art, law and medicine;

· Original entrepreneurship research publications; and,

· Staff hired to concentrate on academic research and scholarships.

The Jim Moran Institute was created in 1995 through a $1.7 million endowment made possible by funds given by Jim and Jan Moran and JM Family Enterprises and supplemented by the state’s matching gift money. The institute has directly assisted more than 3,000 businesses in Florida, offers free consulting to entrepreneurs with annual sales between $1 million and $10 million. The goal is to help them make strategic decisions that lead to improved profits and performance.

"Florida State University's Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship already has some of the best faculty in the country," Combs said. "With these financial resources, we plan to become known as one of the best entrepreneurship centers in the country overall."

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