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 don't access formal financing.
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.

Ross Baird gives testimony, July 24, 2018.

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

Creating supportive communities for entrepreneurs to make an idea a reality by empowering entrepreneurs everywhere as agents of progress. The strategy, including convenings such as the ESHIP Summit and the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, will build a new model of economic development by pioneering the principles, culture, tools, and metrics of successful entrepreneurial communities.

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entrepreneurial communities

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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1MCOS 2017

Market Gaps

Working together with communities and partners to level the playing field for entrepreneurs that have been systemically left behind due to demographic, socio-economic, and geographic barriers through existing entrepreneur support grant programs for women and minority entrepreneurs, and issuing a new RFP that expands its reach to organizations that support diverse entrepreneurs.

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Market Gaps

Policy

Reducing barriers and providing support by empowering entrepreneurship advocates, educating entrepreneurs' and policymakers' understandings of how policy affects entrepreneurship and continuing to build relationships with policymakers.

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Capitol Hill

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 Index series and other papers or articles.

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Entrepreneurial Research Kauffman Index Kauffman Foundation

Currents // Entrepreneurship

Read stories of our work in entrepreneurship.

Hurricane Harvey flooding in Houston, Texas, by Matthew Hager

How the hurricane shifted startups in Houston

Hurricane Harvey presented a crisis nimble entrepreneurs could help solve when necessity shifted focus to community impact.

Micro-entrepreneur, dog walker

The market is stacked against the low-skilled worker

How hourly workers, many of whom earn irregularly, can act entrepreneurially, with help from cities.

Better ways to measure the new economy. Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship

Better ways to measure the new economy

Here are three ways to better measure the grassroots economy.

Fog video still

Navigating the fog

How ecosystem builders help entrepreneurs on their journey.

Can America turn its back on immigrants?