Request for Proposals on Boomers and Millennials

Call for Proposals – Future Trends in Entrepreneurship 
Millennial and Boomer Entrepreneurship

As a part of the 2015 State of Entrepreneurship report and February 11, 2015 event, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has chosen to highlight trends in two particular demographic groups as a means of exploring future potential directions for entrepreneurship in the United States in 2020 – Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Millennials have been showing declining rates of entrepreneurship in many recent national studies, but are in other ways America’s most entrepreneurially-exposed generation. Baby Boomers have been prolific entrepreneurial contributors, but are entering traditional ages for retirement.

In seeking to under these two demographic groups and the policies and other trends that could be affecting their entrepreneurial success, the Foundation is seeking insights into potential drivers of the slowdown in entrepreneurship which accelerated in 2006 (Decker et al. 2014; Hathaway and Litan 2014). A more secular decline in entry and dynamism has been underway for much longer.

The Kauffman Foundation is soliciting grant proposals to investigate trends specific to Millennials and Baby Boomers as it relates to entrepreneurship. Questions of particular interest, although we are open to other suggestions, include:

  1. Is it possible to disentangle the effects of the weak labor market from other factors such as increasing student debt in driving down Millennial entrepreneurship?
  2. To what extent is differential quality in entrepreneurial education impacting the types of entrepreneurial outcomes observed in Millennials?
  3. What are the current patterns in intergenerational family business transfer? How do these trends affect the observed trends of falling business ownership among Millennials?
  4. The observed trends among Millennials do not always appear to match the perceptions of entrepreneurial activity within some local ecosystems. To what extent is it possible to investigate local trends from different sources to attempt to triangulate if a disconnect exists? And if so, what the potential sources of the disconnect (e.g., increased non-response from younger households, changing definitions of jobs) might be?
  5. How is the rise of the shared economy impacting Millennials or Boomers?
  6. As traditional concepts of retirement become more nuanced, how will the entrepreneurial contributions of Baby Boomers continue to change?
  7. Should we expect shifting risk tolerances among Baby Boomer angel or venture capital investors to affect the overall trends in different types of funding?

We welcome research proposals dedicated to an individual topic, as well as multi-disciplinary and holistic study. Policy oriented research proposals are particularly encouraged.


Grants will be made to research institutions and universities; the Foundation will not fund individuals directly. Funding is restricted to institutions located within the United States. Research teams may be comprised of individuals not based in the U.S., but a U.S. institution must be the grant recipient. We will not fund indirect costs.

Submission Format and Guidelines

Proposals should be submitted electronically to Alex Krause at

Proposals should include (1) a brief narrative project description (3-5 pages), (2) a line item budget table (1 page), and (3) CVs of the research team.     

See the Foundation’s website for guidelines of grant application. Questions can be directed to E.J. Reedy at

Deadline for submissions: April 17, 2015, 5:00pm CST.


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