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News and advice from our small-business Web siteVCs Keep Shelling It Out

Unfazed by Nasdaq's downturn, venture capitalists are investing with a vengeance. PricewaterhouseCoopers says venture investments reached $17.22 billion in the first quarter, more than quadrupling last year's first-quarter number of $4.3 billion. The National Venture Capital Assn. recently pegged first-quarter fundings at $22.6 billion--up 266% from $6.2 billion in the first quarter of 1999.

Neither study showed a slowdown in venture activity near the end of the quarter, when Nasdaq began its tailspin. That's probably because the supply of money flowing toward the VC funds from investors doesn't seem to be ending. "The VC firms have a tremendous amount of money under management that they need to invest," says Kirk Walden, the national director of venture-capital research for PricewaterhouseCoopers. "The institutional guys love that kind of return and keep throwing money at them."Interns for Everyone

The National Academy Foundation is making it easier for entrepreneurs to forget about the tight labor market, at least for the summer. The nonprofit, which gives career training to disadvantaged high school students, is looking for small businesses to participate in its paid summer internship program. The internships typically last four to six weeks and must pay at least minimum wage.

In the past, most of the program's employers have been big companies. This year, the organizers decided interns could use a taste of small-company life as well. The 26,000 students enrolled in the foundation's 350 career academies take courses in one of three areas: finance, travel and tourism, or information technology.For the full versions of these stories, click Online Extras at frontier.businessweek.comEdited by Kimberly Weisul

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