The Kauffman Foundation works to create 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.

Mayors and entrepreneurs should see each other as allies.

Mayors and entrepreneurs should see each other as allies

In cities and towns where city leaders and entrepreneurs work together, they create communities with vibrant local economies where startups and small businesses thrive.

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.



As part of the Kauffman Foundation’s annual celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Victor Hwang and Phil Wickham took a road trip through the heartland producing a series of short films telling the stories of renewal brewing among entrepreneurs and the ecosystems that support them in the Midwest.


ESHIP Communities

The ESHIP Communities program is a bottom-up approach to building entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster inclusion, relationships, collaboration, and social capital across networks of entrepreneurs and those who support them. This work supports the creation and evaluation of a repeatable approach by testing key aspects of the framework in Kansas City, Missouri; central New Mexico; Baltimore; and Long Beach, California. Learnings from the initial programs will help refine the approach in subsequent cities.

Visit the website

Mayors' Council

Comprised of former mayors, representing geographically diverse cities, the Mayors’ Council assists on initiatives throughout the Foundation, using their knowledge and experience as former mayors to support the Foundation’s work in entrepreneurship, education, and civic innovation.

Learn more

The ESHIP Summit

The ESHIP Summit is a convening of leaders from across the United States and beyond seeking to support entrepreneurs, build ecosystems, and change our economy. The summit connects entrepreneurial ecosystem builders working to empower the makers, doers, and dreamers of our society.

Visit the website

The Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship

The Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship brings together mayors and entrepreneurs to discuss ways to promote startup activity in their cities. Mayors and entrepreneurs collaborate and align their objectives, creating a new national community where the most difficult problems are addressed using the best aspects of public and private approaches.

Learnings from 2018

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest celebration of innovations and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth, and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW empowers roughly 25 million people through more than 25,000 activities, and is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of 10,000 partner organizations.

Visit the website