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Kauffman Knowledge Challenge

The 2022 Knowledge Challenge RFP is intended to support activities that improve our understanding of entrepreneurship and generate practical, actionable, and rigorous evidence to inform decision making and change systems. 

The 2022 Knowledge Challenge focuses on two areas: systems and structures to support inclusive prosperity, and equitable opportunities and the future of work.  

Meet the grantees funded in the 2022 Knowledge Challenge: 

American Sustainable Business Institute | Support for research to identify scalable best practice cases, observations, and tools focused on alternative ownership models and community-supported entrepreneurship in the United States, including alternative ownership opportunities, alternative capital raising, and alternative lending and deployment methods.  

Board of Regents Nevada System of Higher Education, on behalf of the University of Nevada System | Support to study job creation among entrepreneurs by examining the effects of various policy levers — including minimum wages, payroll taxes and employment protection legislation — on entrepreneurial hiring and job creation in communities that vary by wealth levels and racial and ethnic composition.  

Brookings Institution | Support for policy reports and events to produce evidence-based research and policy work to inform key decision-makers about policies to support entrepreneurs and reduce economic inequality.  

Champlain College | Support for community and action-based research that will explore contexts, networks, and outcomes for women, migrant, and BIPOC entrepreneurs in two US communities on the East Coast. 

Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc. | Support to study how financial aid policies may affect post-college opportunities to become entrepreneurs, and how resulting entrepreneurial activity may differ across communities and geographic regions.  

Johns Hopkins University | Support for community-led research that identifies barriers and opportunities, and develops interventions to support systemically marginalized entrepreneurs.  

Kean University Foundation | Support to research, and implement, measures that support the resilience of Black entrepreneurs during exogenous shocks.  

NEST | Support to build and disseminate knowledge around the barriers to economic advancement faced by makers and creative entrepreneurs, particularly those in Black and Indigenous communities.  

Northeastern University| Support for research on how to increase supplier diversity in higher education procurement.  

RAND | Support to build a dataset to answer questions about the challenges that newer, smaller businesses face, the supports they rely on, and the ways in which solutions can be more effectively targeted to maximize their growth and success.  

Regents of the University of Michigan| Support for research to identify trauma-informed practices that could improve the quality of inclusive entrepreneurial support services.  

Research Foundation of State University of New York| Support for research to identify the impact of state funding and Regional Economic Development Council’s policies on rural and agriculture-focused entrepreneurs in New York State over the last decade and their effect on strengthening entrepreneurship and re-localizing food systems.  

Texas State University Development Foundation | Support for research to identify the inter-related, systemic challenges that Latino-Owned Businesses (LOBs) face when growing and develop tools to help these business owners overcome such obstacles.

The Regents of the University of California at San Diego| Support to study how gender, race/ethnicity, and geography interact to shape the experience of small business owners — particularly regarding access to government lending during COVID-19.  

United Way of Northern New Jersey, Inc.| Support for research on measuring and addressing systemic inequities in the maintainer labor force. 

The University of Pittsburgh | Support to study the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the great reshuffling on how individuals work, who they work for, and the implication for equitable opportunities.  

Washington University | Support for research on emerging entrepreneurship-centered community wealth building (ECCWB) models.  

Jessica Looze

Looking toward the future

“The research projects selected for this portfolio all look toward the future and will help us better understand the systems and structures needed to support inclusive prosperity.” — Jessica Looze, Director of Knowledge Creation and Research

What is the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge Request for Proposals (RFP)? The Knowledge Challenge is a biannual program that invites proposals for research activities aimed at improving our basic understanding of entrepreneurs and the levers, tools, and methods that can advance entrepreneurship in the United States. The Knowledge Challenge is open to proposers conducting research in universities and academic institutions, laboratories, companies, nonprofit organizations, and as individuals. The goal of the Knowledge Challenge is to produce tangible insights for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship program and policy design, ecosystem leaders, and researchers.

The portfolios of grants sourced from the Knowledge Challenge reflects the problem-based grantmaking approach in our Research strategy.