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Central Standards

The Central Standards RFP provides matching funds to encourage and accelerate collaborations between two or more entrepreneurship support organizations working together to support Heartland entrepreneurs in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.

Why Central Standards?

The Kauffman Foundation intends for this funding program to help build connections between entrepreneurship support organizations (ESOs) operating in the Heartland and with ESOs either outside the Heartland or within to support work already in development.

The projects advance at least one or more of the strategic priorities of the Kauffman Foundation’s Heartland Strategy

  • Inclusive prosperity in the Heartland  | Funding programs and initiatives that support all entrepreneurs of all backgrounds in the Heartland. 
  • Rural revitalization | Funding projects that enable rural ESOs and communities to provide the support necessary for rural entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. 
  • Transitioning to an entrepreneurship- and innovation-led economy | Supporting the development of vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems, build new idea economy-relevant clusters, and diversify the region’s economy. 

Meet the first group of the 2022 Central Standards grantees:

Empower Evergreen with Food Works Group | Support to develop and launch a kitchen incubator education program in the North End of Wichita, a primarily Hispanic region of the community.

HATCH  with Kansas Leadership Center, CAPS Network, The Meridian Institute | Support to establish a fellowship program and impact summit that will connect Central Standards grantees and other Heartland entrepreneurs (especially those that are underrepresented in the entrepreneurship landscape) with customized access to a global network of thought-leaders from diverse industries as they explore the viability of launching new ventures, partnerships, and collaborations to solve some of the Heartland’s most pressing challenges.

KC GIFT with The Porter House KC | Support for the launch of a combined cohort of the KC GIFT entrepreneurship resource access program and the KC Porter House entrepreneurship education program.

Springboard Enterprises with Kansas City Women’s Business Center | Support to establish a capital education and pitch program to serve women entrepreneurs in the Heartland of the US. The program will provide showcase events, connections, access to training and resources, and provide actionable insights for women entrepreneurs as they build and scale their companies.

University of Iowa with MakerHealth | Establish a statewide program to support and educate nurses and home healthcare practitioners as they refine innovations in their field and consider entrepreneurship to create more resilience during times of insecurity, such as the recession.

A photo of Hyacinth Vassell

The importance of collaborating with communities already doing the work.

“This work shouldn’t be done alone – in order to grow a more inclusive economy that centers entrepreneurship and innovation, we need to focus on the work already being done in communities. ESOs in the Heartland and from across the nation working together can help accelerate that work and build on the assets of those communities.” — Hyacinth Vassell, Senior Director, Entrepreneurship