Request for Proposals, Measuring Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

As local policymakers become increasingly interested in entrepreneurship, there is a growing need for conceptual frameworks and technical methods to assess the entrepreneurial health of a given city or region.

In March 2015, the Kauffman Foundation released a white paper as a first attempt to address this need. In it, the authors posited four broad indicators to measure the entrepreneurial vibrancy of a given city or region: density, fluidity, connectivity, and diversity.

This framework was only a starting point, intended to spur additional research and discussion. Additionally, there are new kinds of data emerging and they can potentially inform the state of entrepreneurship ecosystem at a finer geographic scale (e.g. the Kauffman Foundation collaborated with the Census Bureau to expand the Business Dynamics Statistics and Survey of Business Owners).

Accordingly, the Kauffman Foundation is soliciting grant proposals to investigate how best to measure an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and what kinds of data can be developed, improved, or used to that end. Questions of particular interest (although we are open to other suggestions) include:

  1. What new data sources can or should be developed to help measure entrepreneurial ecosystems? How can locally-based municipal and non-traditional data sources be better integrated into overall ecosystem measurement?
  2. What other theoretical frameworks might be useful in measuring entrepreneurial ecosystems? (Note that these are not necessarily the same as the traditional innovation systems).
  3. How can cities or regions measure their progress as an entrepreneurial ecosystem over long periods of time?
  4. How well does each of the indicators (density, fluidity, connectivity, and diversity) suggested in the Kauffman white paper actually measure entrepreneurial vibrancy? We welcome equally proposals arguing against, supporting, or arguing for alterations to these indicators.
  5. Are there any specific programs or policies that encourage local entrepreneurial ecosystems, and which indicators or measurement systems should we use to assess their impact? (These may include indicators for assessments of feasibility, utility and efficacy.)

We welcome research proposals dedicated to an individual topic, as well as multi-disciplinary and holistic study.


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 Jordan Bell-Masterson 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 Jordan Bell-Masterson at

Deadline for submissions: May 20, 2015, 5:00pm CT.

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