The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, N.Y., has announced the launch of the 2008 Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Award Program that recognizes and rewards teen-aged girls who demonstrate exceptional entrepreneurship.

Guardian will kick-off the eighth annual program with three one-day Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Conferences in conjunction with local agencies around the country. The conferences are designed to encourage financial literacy and educate young women about entrepreneurship and financial independence. Successful local businesswomen will share their ideas and experiences as conference mentors.

“These conferences give us an opportunity to educate young women on the range of entrepreneurial opportunities that are available to them,” said Emily Viner, Field Vice President, Individual Markets, Guardian, New York. “Today, more than 40% of businesses are women-owned- Girls Going Places inspires young women to be financially independent and cultivates the ideas behind the successful businesses of the future.”

Those in attendance will have an opportunity to learn more about the 2008 program. Since launching the Girls Going Places Entrepreneur Award Program in 2000, Guardian has awarded more than $230,000 to young entrepreneurs across the nation to be used toward their college education or their businesses.

Adults are asked to nominate girls – such as their daughter, niece, neighbor or student – by submitting a 750 to 1,000-word essay on why the nominee deserves a Girls Going Places award. Fifteen girls will be awarded a total of $30,000. A panel of judges will review the essays and pick finalists that:

— Demonstrate budding entrepreneurship and/or financial acumen;
— Have taken the first steps toward financial independence;
— Make a difference in their school or community;
— Show potential for future success by initiating a new business.

The national first place winner of the 2007 competition was Stephanie Brown, 18, who was nominated for successfully establishing Ohio’s first student-run credit union, Oakwood Universal 1 Credit Union. Jasmine Lawrence, 15, of Williamstown, NJ, was named the national second place award for founding Eden BodyWorks, a line of all-natural hair care products for the multi-cultural market.

“The number of women-owned businesses has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to the support of programs and organizations dedicated to the education and mentorship of these budding entrepreneurs,” said Diana Acevedo, National Manager, Girls Going Places Program, Guardian, New York. “Since launching Girls Going Places, we’ve seen thousands of inspiring young entrepreneurs and this program underscores our commitment to the advancement of women in business and their strides towards financial literacy.”

The three top prizes of $10,000, $5,000, and $3,000 and prizes of $1,000 will be presented to each of the 12 finalists. Nominations are being accepted now and entries will be considered through February 15, 2008.

The Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Award program anchors Guardian’s Women’s Initiative, which was established to help women create, invest and protect wealth. As part of this effort, Guardian is a National Patron of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), which partially underwrites the Girls Going Places awards. Additional information about the program and nomination forms for the competition can be found at http://www.girlsgoingplaces.com.

Guardian’s 2007 Girls Going Places(R) Conference Schedule:

— November 6, 2007 Athens, GA
Sponsored by Guardian and Peachtree Planning LLC, a general agency of
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America headquartered in
Atlanta, GA.

— November 8, 2007 Rome, GA
Sponsored by Guardian, Peachtree Planning, LLC and Coosa Valley
Technical College

— December 6, 2007 Union, NJ
Sponsored by Guardian and Northeast Planning Corporation, a general
agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America based in
Cranford, NJ.

Plans are also underway for winter and spring 2008 conferences in the Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Ft. Myers with additional cities in the fall.