One of the Kauffman Foundation’s major strategies in support of entrepreneurship, is to have expanded data available to both national and local policymakers. For close to 40 years, the U.S. Census has run a large-scale survey of private business through the Survey of Business Owners (SBO), providing the most detailed picture of the changing American entrepreneur every five years. Through a major public-private partnership, the Kauffman Foundation and Census Bureau will be modernizing and annualizing the SBO for years 2014, 2015, and 2016.
The new annual Survey of Business Owners will:
• Create useful knowledge that will help foster more (and more successful) entrepreneurs.
• Create timely data on a wide-variety of industries and entrepreneurs in the United States, surveying 200,000 U.S businesses annually.
• Expand the data collected to include more detail on barriers to growth, financing, innovation, firm dynamics, demographics, and background characteristics on American entrepreneurs.
• Accelerate the public release of statistics from this program.
In 2004, Kauffman Foundation initiated the Kauffman Firm Survey (KFS) to study new business development; but, by 2008 and 2009 we realized the KFS was looked to for much more than that. Kauffman was the only organization (public or private) collecting high-quality, ongoing information on a panel of private businesses during this time. Which meant, we were the only real-time source of information on the effect of the most recent recession on many topics related to both new businesses and small businesses. This highlighted a major gap in public knowledge – one Kauffman could not fill alone.
With the Census Bureau partnership, the Kauffman Foundation is looking to scale what was learned with the KFS, expand research even further, and provide new tabulations and localized information annually for all states and top metropolitan areas throughout the country. To keep pace with ever-evolving trends in entrepreneurship, data collection must also undergo improvement and innovation.
It is our hope at Kauffman that with access to good information, policymakers and others will be able to make more informed decisions regarding the entrepreneurial environment.
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