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Kauffman Foundation Launches New Fellowship Program With Arrival of Aspiring British Entrepreneurs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Jan. 25, 2007) - Last week 16 British scholars arrived in Kansas City to begin a six-month program to learn about U.S. entrepreneurship. The program, which is sponsored by the United Kingdom's National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship (NCGE), in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is designed to immerse students in entrepreneurship and to exchange ideas in an international context.
The NCGE-Kauffman Entrepreneurship Fellowship will give the scholars a better understanding of how they can take their ideas, technical skills and knowledge to create new high-impact start-up companies in the United Kingdom. Internationally, the program will generate more entrepreneurial activity in the United Kingdom, which will create new potential for collaboration with the United States and other countries. This interaction will ultimately strengthen the global economy.
"As these top university minds take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey, we are excited to immerse them in our innovative culture right here in Kansas City," said Carl Schramm, Kauffman Foundation president and CEO. "This opportunity will provide the students with invaluable experiences as they prepare for their future as entrepreneurial leaders."
The scholars, who have excelled in engineering, science or technology were selected by the NCGE based on their keen interests in starting and growing a business relevant to their area of study. They are at various stages of their entrepreneurial journey: some have patents, some have begun to form companies, and others are just beginning to think about how to take innovative ideas to the marketplace.
For the first phase of their fellowship, which is taking place at the Kauffman Foundation, the scholars will work with leading thinkers, policy leaders, researchers and business founders. At this stage of the program, the scholars will enhance their understanding of the American culture through observation and interaction with those who have successfully advanced their own ideas and those who study and promote entrepreneurship.
"With many months of planning behind us, we are delighted to have the scholars here in the United States," said Wendy Torrance, program director at the Kauffman Foundation. "The conversations and activities derived from this program will form the cornerstone for an important transnational dialogue that will generate benefits for all who participate."
The NCGE-Kauffman Entrepreneurship Fellowship was initiated at the request of Gordon Brown, the United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer. During his budget speech in March 2006, he declared that enterprise and entrepreneurship would be given new focus by the government. As a result, the United Kingdom government is fully funding the program.
Once well grounded in the American entrepreneurial experience at the Kauffman Foundation, the scholars will travel to California and Massachusetts, where they will be hosted by technology and enterprise centers from Harvard University and Stanford University. During those one-week visits, the scholars will meet faculty, students and those engaged in the high-impact businesses that represent the most innovative work being done in both regions.
As part of the fellowship, the scholars also will have an opportunity to experience the day-to-day operations of an innovative firm through a three-month internship. During this phase, the scholars will further develop their skills and learn how to turn their expertise in the direction of entrepreneurship and the creation of business.
"It's an ideal opportunity to network and expand our academic skills," said Simon Phelps, a fellowship scholar who graduated with honors from Bournemouth University. "The exposure to top university minds and companies will help me work on my own knowledge gaps."
Approximately half of the scholars will intern in entrepreneurial firms in the Kansas City area, while the remaining scholars will be placed in companies in Boston, Mass., and Silicon Valley, Calif.
"With the educational experience provided by the Kauffman Foundation, along with the knowledge gained through internships, these young minds will be well equipped to return home and move forward with their entrepreneurial ideas," said Schramm.