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News Release

Small Business Administration and Staples, Inc. Conduct Town Hall Forum for Small Business at the Original Staples Store

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 25, 2003--

"Innovation: The Staple of Small Business Success" Focuses on Small Business Owners

A special town hall forum, "Innovation: The Staple of Small Business Success" was held today by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Staples, Inc. at Staples' first store in Brighton, Mass.

SBA Administrator Hector Barreto and Staples' Chairman and founder Thomas Stemberg led a discussion on why innovation is necessary for small business success and how to achieve it.

"Small businesses are at the core of the American economy, and providing them with the support they need to expand and grow their business is what the SBA is all about," said SBA Administrator Hector V. Barreto. "This forum presents a unique opportunity for small businesses to get first hand knowledge direct from business leaders."

The Small Business Administration is an important resource for those wishing to start or expand a business, offering loan guarantees and business counseling services for more than 50 years. According to the SBA, Massachusetts is home to 400,000 small businesses employing 1.5 million people. Small businesses across the country make up as much as 52 percent of our nation's Gross Domestic Product and employ more than half of all Americans in the private sector.

Barretto and Stemberg were joined by Barbara Berke, Director of the Massachusetts Office of Business and Technology; Linda Mason, Chairman and Co-founder of Bright Horizons Family Solutions located in Watertown; Patent Attorney Randy Pritzker of Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks located in Boston; and, Anthony Dolphin, Chair, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, SpringBoard Technology located in Springfield.

Moderated by Dave Anthony, broadcast reporter, Boston Business Journal AM Edition on WBIX-AM, Stemberg, Barreto and the panelists offered insights into marketing and business alliance strategies, techniques that help small businesses excel, legal rights to launching or starting a new business and how to better market products and services. Small business owners and entrepreneurs had an opportunity to tap into expert knowledge on how to bring innovative ideas to life.

Last year, SBA and Staples launched an online newsletter, SBA Solutions, to provide entrepreneurs with relevant and timely information to help them maximize their business success. SBA Solutions is part of a co-sponsorship between the SBA and Staples, Inc., to provide an informative training tool to the small business community.

The SBA Solutions newsletter now includes tips to assist small business owners with the risk management and information security of their businesses. For a free subscription to the SBA Solutions newsletter, go online to http://www.sba.gov/sbanewsalerts/

About Staples

Staples, Inc. is headquartered outside of Boston and sells a wide range of office products, including supplies, technology, furniture, and business services. With 2002 sales of $11.6 billion, Staples is committed to make buying office products easy. Nearly 58,000 associates serve consumers and businesses of all sizes - from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the US, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Staples invented the office superstore concept and today, with approximately 1,500 office superstores, is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. Staples also serves its customers through its mail order catalog, e-commerce and contract businesses. More information is available at http://www.staples.com.

For more information about all of the SBA's programs for small businesses, call the SBA Answer Desk at 1-800 U ASK SBA or TDD 704-344-6640, or visit the SBA's extensive Web site at http://www.sba.gov.

You can receive all of the SBA's News Releases via email. To subscribe, visit http://web.sba.gov/list and select "Press Office."

Editors Note: Panelists available upon request.

CONTACT: Small Business Administration
Joan M. Trudell, 617-565-5572
joan.trudell@sba.gov

SOURCE: Staples, Inc.