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The Start Uprising: Eighteen Months of the Startup America Partnership

How does a newly formed nonprofit organization tasked with helping entrepreneurs across America effectively serve startups that are in different places, in different industries and with wildly different needs? Region by region, is the central lesson this white paper.

“The Start Uprising” examines where the Startup America Partnership started and where it is now. It is a story chock full of lessons for anyone interested in being a catalyst for entrepreneurship.

Launched at the White House in January 2011 as a demonstration project by the Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, Startup America Partnership initially focused on helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground by delivering free or low-cost services and connecting them with large corporations.

By mid-2012, however, the initiative’s leaders had discovered that what startup entrepreneurs need most is the mentorship and fellowship of other entrepreneurs who can help them avoid missteps and point them toward customers, funders and talent. This learning shifted Startup America Partnership’s focus toward becoming the catalyst for a movement of entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, through startup regions.

Pivoting to regional hubs was a response to what the Startup America Partnership team learned was a lack of connectedness among entrepreneurs and is consistent with Kauffman research that challenged misconceptions about where high-growth companies start and what entrepreneurs need to succeed.

The white paper traces Startup America Partnership’s evolution over the past 18 months and includes interviews with leaders of state startup regions.

Startup America Partnership aims to create visible networks so that a startup in one city can be connected to the other startups and leaders in that city, as well as to those in adjacent cities and to the entire country. Once those networks exist, other players, from government to media to educators, can engage and add value.