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“Uncommon Methods & Metrics” portfolio kicks off new research focus

The Kauffman Foundation announces new “Uncommon Methods & Metrics” research portfolio that seeks to measure the success of ecosystems that support entrepreneurs.

How entrepreneurial ecosystems drive local economic growth in communities around the country is one of the first topics we’ll be examining as we undertake a new approach to research here at the Kauffman Foundation.

Even as local stakeholders have increasingly focused on creating policies and programs that support entrepreneurship, we currently have limited timely and granular data on entrepreneurial ecosystems.

That’s why our new “Uncommon Methods and Metrics” portfolio, backed by $2.9 million in funding, should result in research and data that will ultimately help community leaders make decisions that create more entrepreneurial environments for new and growing companies.

The portfolio, which consists of independent and institutional researchers (see sidebar), will look at a number of factors impacting the success of entrepreneurial communities, including access to capital and talent; the presence of entrepreneurial support organizations; educational institutions and businesses that embrace entrepreneurship; and policies influencing entrepreneurship.

Beyond funding for their proposals, this portfolio of researchers will also receive direct assistance from the Kauffman Foundation in the three years following the award. This includes meetings to assess their approaches to collecting new entrepreneurial data and to understand how best to adjust direction to ensure ultimate success.

Our goal from this process is to gain insights from innovative research that can be thoughtfully and intentionally applied to build successful and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems – a key component of the Kauffman Foundation’s new approach to knowledge creation.

This new approach is also the reason we’re redesigning the Kauffman Index. The Index has produced valuable data and has been widely used, and we think a retooled Index will be even better able to produce actionable insights that benefit entrepreneurs and communities.

Samee Desai, director of knowledge creation and research at the Kauffman Foundation, networks at the State of Entrepreneurship Address 2018

What is this all adding up to? We believe, as many people do, that entrepreneurship is key to economic advancement. We know that entrepreneurship is vital to jobs and economic progress. For many, entrepreneurship is the path to economic security.

We need a new economic model that infuses entrepreneurship into the economy more broadly than ever and removes barriers to starting and growing a business. It begins with creating entrepreneurial ecosystems – local, inclusive cultures of entrepreneurship in communities across the country.

The beauty of these ecosystems is that they are relevant in every community, no matter how you define community. They are relevant in this country and around the world.

In the United States, entrepreneurial ecosystems are the key to spreading economic opportunity beyond major metropolises to the small towns and in some of the most rural parts of our nation.

But this new economic model can only succeed if we remove barriers in the way. At the Kauffman Foundation, our collective strategies are focused on achieving zero barriers to startup.

This approach represents a collaborative nationwide effort to identify large and small barriers to new business creation. It involves entrepreneurs, organizations that help entrepreneurs, researchers and policymakers, and it will develop solutions and empower more entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.

UMM researchers and their projects

  • Ed Egan: The incubator data project is building automated tools to collect and assemble data on ecosystem institutions, like incubators, from the web.
  • Joda Thongnopnua: MIP is analyzing collision spaces using emerging sensor technology to create typologies and better understand how those spaces impact entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Daniel Basco: Use a mix of machine learning and human validation to identify entrepreneurship-related laws at state and local levels.
  • Brooks Rainwater: What effect does state preemption of local authority have on business starts in cities and across metros?
  • Banu Özkazanç-Pan and Paolo Gaudiano: To understand influence of VC networks and decision-making in different socio-economic environments via agent-based simulation
  • Lee Fleming: Crowdfunding data and the implications on entrepreneurship.
  • Jorge Guzman: This project leverages population-level business registration records and predictive analytics to form novel measures of entrepreneurial quantity, quality and performance at an arbitrary level of geographic and temporal granularity.
  • Rem Koning: Developing real-time measures of firm strategy and ecosystem growth by merging digital data on the software tools, employee skills, and growth trajectories of US firms.
  • Jon Eckhardt: Building metrics to track university-based entrepreneurship.
  • JF Guathier: Novel survey methodology innovation for sparsely populated communities.

Additional UMM researchers

These researchers represent communities that aren’t always present during research and data formation. The intent is to allow these researchers to work with the other projects to develop data and methods that are representative of the whole community.


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