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We know that entrepreneurs who are historically left behind due to race, ethnicity, gender, or geography have more challenges accessing capital to start or grow a business.


Entrepreneurs create the majority of net new jobs in the United States, yet at least 83% of entrepreneurs do not access institutional forms of capital (bank loans or venture capital).


Venture capital is used by 0.5% of entrepreneurs, supporting a small fraction of new businesses that have outsized economic impact.

Existing structures and strategies do not support the majority of entrepreneurs, with many facing persistent market gaps:


Venture capital data showed that all-women founding teams raised 2.2% of VC funding in 2017.

Only about 9% of proposals submitted to angel investors came from women entrepreneurs.

Men were 60% more likely to secure funding than women when pitching the same business.


New Black-owned businesses start with almost 3x less in terms of overall capital compared with new white-owned businesses. This disparity in capital investment declines but does not disappear even by the seventh year after startup.

Outside equity for Black-owned new business is 1.5% compared to 17% for white-owned.

Black entrepreneur’s loan requests are 3x less likely to be approved than white entrepreneurs. This difference persists even after accounting for credit scores and net worth of founders.


Geographic concentration of VC funding: Close to 80% of about $21.1 billion in VC funding in the first quarter of 2018 was disbursed in five regional clusters:

  • San Francisco
  • Silicon Valley
  • New England
  • New York City metro
  • Los Angeles/Orange County
Capital Access Lab pipeline

A Solution in Process

The Kauffman Foundation provided seed funding for a national initiative, the Capital Access Lab, to break down barriers and increase access to capital for the at least 83% of entrepreneurs who are not served by venture capital firms or banks.

In its early stages, the Capital Access Lab has three objectives:

For fund managers

We provide early-stage investment to help you establish and scale up your funds.

For funds and investors

We help you deploy capital through innovative financing mechanisms that reach underserved entrepreneurs.

Community of practice

We’re also a part of a growing community of practice in alternative funding. We’d love to hear your ideas and best practices and contribute them to the larger community.

If you are interested in investing in the Capital Access Lab, or want to submit your ideas and best practices, or if you are a fund manager interested in applying for funding through the Capital Access Lab and have questions before you begin your application, please contact Brendan Cosgrove.

Interested fund managers ready to apply for funding through the Capital Access Lab can contact us through the Kauffman portal by Submitting a New Idea.* To ensure you are considered as part of the Capital Access Lab, select your area of interest as “Entrepreneurship” and your strategic focus as “Capital Access.”

*Fund managers, the Capital Access Lab is fully committed as of December 31, 2020, but wants to continue to meet new funds and support building the alternative capital ecosystem.