Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurship Policy Map FAQ

What is the Entrepreneurship Policy Map?

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation developed the Entrepreneurship Policy Map as a tool to help identify specific public and private policies that matter most to different entrepreneurs and to illustrate a holistic approach to supporting entrepreneurship across various stages of the entrepreneurial journey.

How do I use the Entrepreneurship Policy Map?

The Kauffman Foundation has populated the Entrepreneurship Policy Map with examples of broad areas of public and private policy that our research shows matter greatly to entrepreneurs at three stages of business development. This map may be used as a starting point for identifying specific actions that government and private organizations can take to support entrepreneurs.

For example, Kauffman Foundation research shows that certain barriers to entry are prominent for startup entrepreneurs. At the state level, these barriers can take different forms, such as occupational licensing and non-compete agreements. The Entrepreneurship Policy Map provides initial direction but allows the user to determine the ultimate policy issues.

Because perspectives will likely vary about what policies are most important to different entrepreneurs in different geographic areas, the Kauffman Foundation has made available a blank Entrepreneurship Policy Map that individuals or groups can fill in. As others populate the Entrepreneurship Policy Map, we will learn new information about how entrepreneurs and policymakers in different parts of the country perceive entrepreneurial challenges and the role of policy.

What are "Startup Entrepreneurs"?

Startup Entrepreneurs are the owners and founders of new and young businesses across all industries. This aspect of entrepreneurship captures initial firm formation and aligns with The Kauffman Index: Startup Activity—a measure of business startup activity in United States. 

The Startup Activity Index is an equally weighted index of three normalized measures of startup activity:

  1. The Rate of New Entrepreneurs in the economy, calculated as the percentage of adults becoming entrepreneurs in a given month.
  2. The Opportunity Share of New Entrepreneurs, calculated as the percentage of new entrepreneurs driven primarily by opportunity versus necessity.
  3. The Startup Density of a region, measured as the number of new employer businesses normalized by population.

What are "Main Street Entrepreneurs"?

Main Street Entrepreneurs are local, small business owners. This aspect of entrepreneurship captures a later stage of business activity, primarily the operation of an existing small business, and aligns with the Kauffman Index: Main Street Entrepreneurship.

The Main Street Entrepreneurship Index is equally weighted across two normalized measures:

  1. The Rate of Business Owners in the economy, calculated as the percentage of local adults who own a business on average, per year.
  2. The Established Small Business Density of a region, measured as the number of established (older than five years) small employer businesses (with less than 50 employees) normalized by population.

What are "Growth Entrepreneurs"?

Growth Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs that lead and oversee the growth of firms. This aspect of entrepreneurship captures business expansion and aligns with the Kauffman Index: Growth Entrepreneurship—a measure of business growth in the United States.

  1. The Growth Entrepreneurship Index is an equally weighted index of three normalized measures of growth:
  2. The Startup Growth Rate, calculated as how much startups have grown, on average, during the first five years after founding.
  3. The Share of Scale Ups, calculated as the percentage of startups that become scale ups, or ventures employing 50 people or more by their fifth year of operation.
  4. The High-Growth Company Density of a region, measured as the number of high-growth businesses with at least $2 million in annual revenue normalized by population.

What are examples of "Private Organizations"?

The Kauffman Foundation considers private organizations to be non-government entities that play, or could play, an active and supportive role in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (see How to Cook Up a Vibrant Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to learn about ecosystems). Examples of private organizations include institutions of higher education, accelerators and business incubators, co-working spaces, investor groups, existing and large businesses and philanthropies.