As part of its new strategic plan, the Kauffman Foundation has awarded grants to nonprofit organizations that have exceptional track records in supporting entrepreneurs.
Through a rigorous review process, the Foundation has identified and invested in its first cohort of nonprofits that help entrepreneurs confront and overcome their key challenges. Strategic investments in these best-in-class organizations help their programs scale to serve more entrepreneurs. In addition, the Foundation will gain a better understanding of what makes these highly successful programs and initiatives so effective.
The organizations, selected from a pool of more than 300 proposals from leading entrepreneurship programs in 47 states, will receive grants ranging from $330,000 to $500,000 each over two years. The eight grantees include organizations that serve a wide variety of sectors and demographic groups, from high-tech entrepreneurs to low-income individuals and groups that are under-represented in the world of entrepreneurship.
The eight organizations are:
Austin Technology Incubator, Austin, Texas. This startup incubator at the University of Texas at Austin trains students and recent graduates to prepare their ventures to compete successfully in the capital markets.
IDEA Village, New Orleans, Louisiana. Targeting under-served populations in New Orleans, IDEA Village offers support to early-stage entrepreneurs. The program includes training, mentoring, peer-to-peer learning, coaching from investment professionals and access to pro bono lawyers, bankers and other experts.
Interise, Boston, Massachusetts. Interise stimulates economic revitalization in lower-income communities through its StreetWise™ MBA program, a 27-week certificate program that facilitates access to new markets, capital and knowledge through education, peer-to-peer learning, coaching and networking.
MassChallenge, Boston, Massachusetts. One of the world’s largest startup accelerators, MassChallenge supports high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with mentorship, office space, education, access to a vast network and other resources during four months of acceleration.
Seed Spot, Phoenix, Arizona. This organization supports early-stage entrepreneurs that are developing solutions to solve important societal problems. It uses a proprietary curriculum that emphasizes social impact and uses experts to teach core strategies that bring a venture to life.
VentureWell, Hadley, Massachusetts. VentureWell developed the Accelerating Startup Partnerships and Investment Readiness (ASPIRE) program to focus on manufactured products. The organization supports the development of hardware innovations and ventures that bring those products to market.
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), Syracuse, New York. V-WISE provides a pathway into entrepreneurship for the under-served target audience of female veterans and military wives. It is led by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University.
Village Capital, Washington, D.C. Village Capital finds and trains entrepreneurs who are working to solve different problems in a specific sector. The peers mentor one another and choose which among them will be funded.
The grantees were selected after demonstrating that they have helped entrepreneurs meet challenges in areas such as developing business models, obtaining funding and building management teams. The grants will help them expand and widen their reach.