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Four people of color engage in conversation, with other attendees in different conversations around them, at the 2019 ESHIP Summit conference in Kansas City, Missouri.


Creating equitable and innovative pathways to entrepreneurship

The Kauffman Foundation seeks to support the start and growth of new businesses through programs, policies, and practices that give rise to equitable access to entrepreneurship.

Our work helps remove systemic barriers that prevent entrepreneurs from starting and growing businesses, especially for people who have historically been disinvested. Through entrepreneur-focused economic development and a prepared workforce, we support entrepreneurs and their communities in starting, growing, and scaling businesses in Kansas City, the Heartland, and around the United States.

To support equitable access to entrepreneurship, the Kauffman Foundation focuses on programs and initiatives that support the overall Entrepreneurship strategy: Research, Knowledge Creation, & Economic Trends; Entrepreneurship Ecosystems & Policy Impact; Entrepreneurial Learning & Support; and Capital Innovation.

Entrepreneurship Focus Areas

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Research, Knowledge Creation,
& Economic Trends

We aim to identify economic trends so that policymakers, entrepreneur support organizations and other decision makers can create ideal conditions for entrepreneurs and their communities. Through the dissemination of practical, actionable, and rigorous evidence, question-based grantmaking, and advances in data, we seek to bridge the gap between knowledge gained and its application in policy and practice.

Two entrepreneurs of color wearing suits and ties talk with a white politician, also wearing a suit and tie, in a brightly-lit hallway, an American flag hanging behind them.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
& Policy Impact

We support and educate ecosystem builders – entrepreneurs, community leaders, entrepreneur support organization leaders, and policymakers – in implementing policies, programs, and practices that spur economic development through entrepreneurship.

Two people sit at a small round table with a laptop and two phones between them.

Entrepreneurial Learning
& Support

We champion entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them in Kansas City, the Heartland, and across the United States by ensuring they have equitable access to the resources needed to start, grow, and sustain businesses. By developing programs, convening, forging partnerships, and building organizational capacity, we can serve more entrepreneurs by championing high-quality support.

A person holds a smartphone in one hand, a credit card in the other. On the table in front of them are financial documents, a cup of coffee, and a laptop computer.

Capital Innovation

In collaboration with key financial institutions and civic organizations, we’re working to understand and address the challenges entrepreneurs of color face when accessing capital. We identify innovative capital models, educate those involved, and deploy supportive grants that help create more equitable access to capital for underrepresented entrepreneurs. Our three-pronged capital strategy includes civic participation, lender and entrepreneur education, and capitalization.

Explore other Kauffman Foundation Strategies

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We focus on ensuring the Kansas City region’s education and learning opportunities are equitable, real-world relevant, and lead to economically-viable careers. Learn more about programs and initiatives relating to education >

Kansas City skyline

Kansas City Civic

We continue Ewing Kauffman’s legacy by supporting institutions that eliminate barriers for all people to drive cultural, social, and economic impact in Kansas City. Learn more about programs and initiatives relating to Kansas City >