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Request for Proposals: Seeking New Insights and Potential Sources of New Entrepreneurial Growth: Women

Deadline: August 15, 2015

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is seeking research proposals that generate knowledge and expertise that can feed joint learning, innovative practices, and evidence-based policymaking for successful entrepreneurship and the financing of entrepreneurial ventures by women (and men).

One area of specific interest is entrepreneurship as a gendered phenomenon. As described in Jennings and Brush (2013):

“Perhaps the most fundamental contribution of women’s entrepreneurship research lies in acknowledging and documenting that entrepreneurship is not a gender-neutral phenomenon. Instead, entrepreneurial activity occurs within—and is thus impacted by—systems of socially constructed and widely shared beliefs about the characteristics typically associated with women and men and the behaviors and roles deemed appropriate for members of each sex.”

Other topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How does women’s entrepreneurship fuel social and economic development, including job creation and gender equality?
  • What is known about the impact and effects of women entrepreneurship promotion (WEP) policies and support programs, especially around high-growth entrepreneurship?
  • How can private sector and public policy contribute to successful women’s entrepreneurship?
  • How can entrepreneurial ecosystems support startup, growth, and sustainability of women’s entrepreneurship?
  • What are policies and practices for women’s entrepreneurship promotion? What is the evidence of impact?
  • What are best practices and instruments of private sector development programs that are effective for women entrepreneurs?
  • What are the best practices for empowering women entrepreneurs in the value-chain, and what are the challenges?
  • What works in terms of public and private collaboration and market-driven practices for women’s entrepreneurship promotion?
  • How do we measure policy impact, and what is the return on investment in women entrepreneurs?
  • What impact do policies and practices have on female investor promotion?
  • What should be done about measuring implicit (unconscious) bias against women founders?(experimental research on the gatekeepers and funders)
  • Why does the gender gap persist in obtaining business financing, and does the persistent underrepresentation of women in the financing industry, especially venture capital, play a role?
  • Do women entrepreneurs have better access to the new funding sources, such as crowdfunding?
  • In relation to households and entrepreneurial exits, how do employment and self-employment histories intertwine alongside personal characteristics, such as marriage status, children, human capital, etc.?

Scholars are encouraged to connect empirical phenomena to theory and to employ rigorous and replicable data and methods to test their ideas. Partnerships between researchers and entrepreneurship programs also are encouraged. Qualitative and quantitative papers as well as new theoretical contributions are welcome. In doing so, research can build a body of high-quality, cumulative research that extends our current knowledge.

We will evaluate the proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Fits with the aim of the call
  • Creates actionable insights for policymakers and/or practitioners
  • Pushes the knowledge frontier forward
  • Offers generalizable lessons
  • Demonstrates methodological rigor
  • Exhibits value for money, co-funding, and cost: Best proposals will provide excellent value-for-money. In addition, everything else equal, lower cost proposals are preferred. Proposals that already have committed co-funding (or the ability to attract it) will be considered positively.

We may host a conference in 2017 to highlight findings coming out of research projects funded through this RFP. Travel and accommodations will be provided to presenting authors.

How to propose a project

Deadline: August 15, 2015

Proposals should consist of:

  1. A five-page description of the research to be undertaken, including a short literature review, the hypotheses to be tested, and why the topic is important.
  2. A one-page description of the timeline for the project, including milestones, and a budget with breakdown of project costs, including some justification of the costs provided.
  3. CVs or resumes for the people who will be undertaking the research.

Send proposal packages by email to Alex Krause at

Additional information

We may invite a selection of applicants for an interview before making a final decision. The Kauffman Foundation reserves the right to request additional information and attach additional conditions to the grant.