Entrepreneurship

An entrepreneurial spirit is at the heart of the work we do across the Kauffman Foundation every day.

Our founder, Mr. Kauffman, believed it was a fundamental right for anyone who had a big idea to be able to bring it to life. We work with entrepreneurs, empower them with tools and resources, and work to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses.

> 81% of entrepreneurs do not access a bank loan or venture capital.
1% of venture capital dollars went to African-American and Latino founders in 2016.
< 2% of venture capital dollars went to women founders in 2016.

Here's the reality: Too many are left out of our economy. A recent report expands on the connection between the long-term decline in entrepreneurship and the effect on productivity and growth. The lackluster productivity drags down wages and living standards. Put simply – fewer startups mean a lower quality of life for Americans. We need to contribute to a new economic model. One that infuses entrepreneurship into the economy and removes barriers to starting and growing businesses.

As Mr. Kauffman said, we believe that everyone has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who you are or where you're from, with zero barriers in the way.

How to work with us

Wondering how you can get involved in the Kauffman Foundation's entrepreneurship work? Find the statement below that fits your interests and learn more.

Ross Baird, Village Capital, testimony

3 trends that prevent entrepreneurs from accessing capital

To fuel startups, and the U.S. startup rate, founders need access to a variety of funding opportunities.

Victor Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, gives a TEDx Talk in Augusta.

How 997 people can make America great again

At TEDx Augusta, Victor Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship, offered four insights into what we know about entrepreneurship and shared ideas for how to support the makers, doers, and dreamers.

Kelsey Hampton at the Entrepreneurship Policy Network meeting

How policy and advocacy are vital to entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs' Policy Network bolsters plan to empower those who support entrepreneurs to be effective policy advocates.

Entrepreneurship Focus Areas

Communities

The Kauffman Foundation fosters supportive communities for aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs by empowering them as agents of progress. The strategy models a new approach to economic development by pioneering the principles, culture, tools, and metrics for successful entrepreneurial communities.

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Learning

Creating a learning community of entrepreneurs, providing people with ideas the connections, tools, and support needed to be successful, like launching a revamped Kauffman FastTrac and expanding 1 Million Cups to more markets and demographics.

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Market Gaps

Working together with communities and collaborating organizations to level the playing field for entrepreneurs that have been systemically left behind due to demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic barriers through existing entrepreneur support grant programs, issuing requests for proposals (RFPs), and amplifying learnings across the field of entrepreneurship support.

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Policy

Starting a business is difficult enough; government shouldn't make it harder or more complicated. We empower advocates to educate policymakers about why new businesses matter so that the voices of entrepreneurs can inform policy debates at the local, state, and federal level.

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Research

Creating actionable insights, data-driven models, and practical tools that align with core strategies and support reducing barriers for entrepreneurs through key reports, such as the Kauffman Indicators of Entrepreneurship and other papers or articles.

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Currents // Entrepreneurship

Read stories of our work in entrepreneurship.

Joe Kapp, co-founder of RuralRISE, speaks at ESHIP Summit 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri

A life of meaning

Joe Kapp is working to break down barriers to create access to resources and opportunities that clear a path to entrepreneurship for those in rural America.

HaWaTay’s Gift Shop & Supplies, Alton Porter | photo by Justin Wan

Small business owners secure viable funding in rural communities

Business owners in towns such as Walthill, Nebraska, benefit from a nontraditional lending source – CDFI.

Future-proof students

Rethinking education to make graduates – workers – future-proof

Choosing to invest in the complicated task of evolving education to "future-proof" workers is smarter than trying to future-proof jobs.

A new American Dream

How my dad discovered a new American Dream

Mona Ahmed explores how her dad, Humayun Ahmed, ended up a gas station owner and serial entrepreneur supported by a community that cultivates its own network to overcome barriers to success.

Is post-industrial America ready to punch back?