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

The Kauffman Foundation aims to create actionable insights and practical tools to reduce barriers to entrepreneurs through problem-based grantmaking, advances in data, and translation capacity and infrastructure.

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Currents // Entrepreneurship

Read stories of our work in entrepreneurship.

Melinda Pregont

Making a small town home

Millennials returning to their hometown of Atchison, Kansas, are investing in its success and working with the community to revitalize small-town life.

Kauffman Knowledge Challenge

2020 Kauffman Knowledge Challenge: The value in knowing what's missing

The 2020 Knowledge Challenge RFP focuses on building an inclusive research pipeline to better understand what can advance entrepreneurship in the U.S.

Esam Hammad, right, at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Bahrain.

A nation once known for pearl-diving now shares the risk with entrepreneurs

The special energy created when members of diverse entrepreneurial ecosystems come together was concentrated recently in Bahrain.

Close the Gap convening

A love letter to entrepreneurship support organizations

The impact of ESOs is immeasurable – and support for them is critical to our communities and economy.

Is post-industrial America ready to punch back?