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Previous Knowledge Challenge Grantees

After listening to researchers, entrepreneurs, and those who support entrepreneurs, the Kauffman Foundation updated its approach to the way it seeks information from research and created the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge in 2018.

The Knowledge Challenge is a biannual program that invites proposers to submit 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.

2020 Knowledge Challenge Grantees:

The 2020 Knowledge Challenge produced a portfolio of grants that seek to answer questions based on real-world problems facing entrepreneurs and their communities. An emphasis throughout the portfolio includes grants for programs and projects focused on diversifying the pipeline of entrepreneurship researchers. 

Two areas of focus for the 2020 Kauffman Knowledge Challenge

Research-Practice Collaboration | Insights gleaned from these projects will address knowledge gaps across the field and internally through: 

Inclusion in Entrepreneurship Research | These projects or programs pilot approaches to improve access to opportunities and improve inclusion in the entrepreneurship research pipeline itself. 

Research-Practice Collaboration: 

  • Clark University | Support to study the creation of a predevelopment fund for Puerto Rico and provide training to staff at community development corporations. 
  • Cleveland State University Foundation | Support to study access to resources by underserved entrepreneurs of color and test actionable policies.
  • Cornell University | Support to study how the gig economy affects entry into entrepreneurship, young firm growth, and their sources of capital. 
  • The New School | Support to study how the rise of online commerce has impacted the viability of offline retail entrepreneurial activity. 
  • Ohio State University | Support to study the impact of entrepreneurship training on refugees’ entrepreneurial behavior and economic, social, and mental well-being. 
  • Reinvestment Fund, Inc. | Support to measure and quantify the contributions that concentrations of small businesses have on sustaining and strengthening the social wellbeing of a community. 
  • University of Utah | Support to study how the background of entrepreneurs and inventors shape the types of products and services offered. 
  • Washington University in St. Louis | Support to document and explore the specific challenges and solutions of early stage Black and Latinx entrepreneurs.  

Inclusion in Entrepreneurship Research: 

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College | Support to develop a curriculum that trains diverse students to study entrepreneurship ecosystems in their own communities. 
  • New York University | Support to develop networks/mentorship that encourages racial and ethnic minority researchers to study technology entrepreneurship. 
  • North Carolina Central University | Provide support for underrepresented students and faculty at NCCU to study racial equity in entrepreneurship. 
  • Old Dominion University | Support for research and programs exploring barriers faced by transitional entrepreneurs. 
  • Stillman College | Support to increase the diversity of research on Black technology ecosystems. 

2018 Knowledge Challenge Grantees:

The inaugural Kauffman Knowledge Challenge was split into four research areas in 2018:

New Nature of Entrepreneurship | Projects will explore how new markets are emerging and test new program designs.

Barriers to Entrepreneurship | Projects will seek to understand the barriers to entrepreneurship and where they come from.

Program Design and Policy Intervention & Implementation | Projects will show how policy outcomes affect entrepreneurs.

Ecosystem and External Environment for Entrepreneurship | Projects will look at how ecosystems operate.

New Nature of Entrepreneurship

Barriers to Entrepreneurship

Program Design and Policy Intervention & Implementation

Ecosystem and External Environment for Entrepreneurship