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AOL Small Business Launches Season Two of ''The Startup'' Online Reality Series with

DULLES, Va. -- AOL's Newest Online Reality Program Chronicles a Hurricane Katrina Comeback Story, an Emerging Fashion Designer and an Ice Cream Sundae Maker for Dogs

With any new small business comes a hefty dose of headaches and hassles - and AOL Small Business ( is ready to share them all during "The Startup 2" online reality series. Now in its second year and available on the Web, the Internet series highlights real companies as they weather the startup and survival storms, literally, by sharing their experiences along the way so that other entrepreneurs might apply the same lessons learned to their own businesses.

AOL Small Business teamed up with to launch "The Startup (TM)," series providing small business owners with an interactive and entertaining online outlet for exchanging advice with their peers. The series will follow three small businesses for a year with weekly video updates and blog updates, creating a unique window into the real-life struggles, successes and pitfalls of running a small business.

"The Startup (TM) 2" series participants include:

Miss Celie's Spa Orleans/Olde Victorian Inn - As participants of last year's "Startup" series, Keith and Andre West-Harrison faced many challenges in launching their New Orleans day spa/B&B, but none as big as those they will encounter this year as they rebuild their businesses in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on the local tourism industry.

Grace Edwards, Inc.: Born in the Philippines and currently residing in New York, Grace Edwards is embracing the American dream at age 50 to leverage her artistic talents and launch her own fashion designs. The "Startup 2" will showcase Ms. Edwards' emerging talent, beginning with Grace's collection debut at the Philippine Embassy in NYC.

Frozen Specialty Products, L.L.C.: Dan Kastor and Gary Kostlan hope that their new business goes to the dogs - literally. Their product? I.C. Spots, a sundae treat for man's best friend. To launch this Cleveland-based manufacturing company, the business partners are leveraging $10K in savings to tap into the growing pets market.

"The Startup 2" series will feature:

--Business profiles on each of the startups and their owners;

--Weekly video vignettes highlighting the businesses, the locales for each and the owners' personalities;

--Updates of a different business each week, highlighting the highs and lows from the previous month; and

--Regular blogging entries from each participating company, fostering an interactive exchange of advice and encouragement from other small business owners and Internet users.

"In 'The Startup 2,' Internet users will not only get an inside look at what goes into running a business, but they also have the opportunity to participate in the series by providing feedback and encouragement to the participating business owners," said Joel DiGiacomo, Director of AOL Small Business. "This is another example of how the portal is becoming a 'Next Generation Network,' providing innovative, interactive online programming that can't be found elsewhere on the Web."

"We look forward to once again teaming with AOL Small Business to give entrepreneurs an entertaining, informative, and poignant look at what it's really like to start and maintain a small business," said Rieva Lesonsky, Senior Vice President and Editorial Director, Entrepreneur Magazine. "These three diversified companies embody the entrepreneurial spirit and passion of small businesses today and should provide inspiration and learning lessons to others."

In its inaugural season, "The Startup" series drew one million page views and 100,000 video streams in the first month alone. Internet users followed along as four businesses - a cavern tour park, a spa/bed & breakfast, a salsa company and a girl's clothing store - launched and faced such challenges as trademark lawsuits, store vandalism and more.

In addition to featuring "The Startup 2" series, the AOL Small Business site provides millions of entrepreneurs with a variety of robust resources, including expert advice, innovative content and original programming to help meet their business needs.

About AOL Small Business

Designed to meet the unique needs of the more than 23 million small businesses in the United States, AOL Small Business ( provides a collection of how-to articles, tools and resources to help entrepreneurs start, manage and grow their businesses while saving them time and money in the process. Original online programming such as The Startup Online Reality Series also provides Internet users with a behind-the-scenes look at the real-life challenges of running a small business. Available on the Web at AOL Small Business attracts more than 2.3 million visitors each month (comScore Media Metrix, September 2005.)

About America Online, Inc.

America Online, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner. Based in Dulles, Virginia, America Online is the world's leader in interactive services, Web brands, Internet technologies and e-commerce services.

About Entrepreneur Media Inc.

To provide entrepreneurs with the relevant information they need to make informed decisions, Entrepreneur Media Inc. offers a full range of products and services. Products include: Magazines - Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur's Be Your Own Boss, Entrepreneur Mexico and Entrepreneur Philippines; websites -,, and; Book Publishing - Entrepreneur Press, The Oasis Press, Entrepreneur's eBooks and Business Start-Up Guides; also - Conferences and Custom Publishing.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Additional photos of participating businesses available upon request.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 18, 2005
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