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Kauffman and Disney Online's `Hot Shot Business' Wins Coveted Parents' Choice Gold Award

Business Editors/Education Writers

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Calif. & KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 16, 2003--The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Disney Online announced today that "Hot Shot Business" (www.hotshotbusiness.com) has been awarded a 2003 Parents' Choice Gold Award.

Jointly created by the entrepreneurship experts at the Kauffman Foundation and Disney Online's creative team, Hot Shot Business is an innovative Internet simulation hosted on the Kids Island section of Disney Online (www.disney.com), the number one kids' entertainment site that attracts approximately 13 million unique visitors each month (ComScore Media Metrix, October 2003). Visitors to Hot Shot Business get to "play entrepreneur" by starting and running a virtual pet spa, skateboard company or other business. Targeted to "tweens" (kids aged 9-12), the lively, fast-paced game introduces real-world business concepts while teaching kids to react quickly to their surroundings, including their demanding customers.

"This award and the huge popularity of the game are further evidence that today's youth have an unquenchable entrepreneurial spirit," said Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Carl Schramm. "Hot Shot Business teaches skills kids can use the rest of their lives - and equally important, helps them realize that the dream of owning a business is possible."

The Parents' Choice Foundation is the oldest not-for-profit organization that identifies the best products for children of different ages, backgrounds, skills and interests. The Parents' Choice Awards are given to products that meet and exceed standards set by educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and kids themselves. Fewer than 15 percent of those items submitted to the Parents' Choice Awards program receive a commendation in one of the six award levels: Gold, Silver, Recommended, Approved, Classic and Fun Stuff.

Grouped in the "video game" category, Hot Shot Business earned the highest honor bestowed by the foundation: a Parents' Choice Gold Award. The criteria for judgments include the production standards, universal human values, and a unique, individual quality that pushes the product a notch above others.

"Parents' Choice awards are a great way to judge toys and activities for children," said Mary Jo Ward, owner of Brookside Toys and Science in Kansas City, Mo. "I recently had a mom in the store who said she really does look for the Gold Seal from Parents' Choice because she knows she can count on them to select quality products that meet or exceed her standards." A Kauffman Foundation survey in 2002 of 3,000 students revealed that more than 41 percent of "tweens" have thought about starting a business. Among the most commonly cited reasons for starting a business in this age group were to "follow a dream" and "help other people." Even at this age, tweens seemed to understand the benefits entrepreneurs provide, since nearly 70 percent said they knew business owners "make new jobs for others."

"Our goal was to make Hot Shot Business so fun and cool for kids that the 'learning' just happens naturally. By speaking to them in their language, we hope to show kids that it's possible to not just dream big dreams but to achieve big things," said Craig Armstrong, the Kauffman Foundation's Hot Shot Business project director who worked closely with the Disney Online development team. "Working with Disney has been terrific. Their creative team has a strong track record of combining online entertainment with educational elements to make learning fun."

The Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information is available at www.kauffman.org.

Disney Online

Disney Online (www.disney.com) produces the number one kids' entertainment and family community destinations on the Internet that consistently reflects the magic that has come to be expected of Disney. Its "neighborhoods," specifically designed for each member of the family, include Disney's Blast (www.disneyblast.com) and Disney's Toontown Online (www.Toontown.com), both premium subscription services, as well as Disney Store, Destinations, Playhouse Disney, Kids Island, Entertainment, FamilyFun and Inside Disney.

Disney Online also produces FamilyFun.com (www.familyfun.com), the premier online family resource for great ideas, practical advice and fun stuff to do, and Movies.com (www.movies.com), a leading site that provides a broad array of reviews and information to help movie fans make the right choice on movie night.

Disney Online is a part of The Walt Disney Internet Group, which provides integrated strategic and operational Internet services for The Walt Disney Company's (NYSE:DIS) Internet initiatives.

    CONTACT: Kauffman Foundation
             Wendy Guillies, 
             Disney Online
             Kim Kerscher,  
             Elizabeth Crothers,              

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