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.

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


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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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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Entrepreneur Support Organizations

Through our grantmaking, we work to benefit entrepreneurs across the Heartland region of the United States (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas) by ensuring entrepreneurs have equitable access to the resources they need to start and grow businesses. We convene and make grants to Heartland entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) in order to develop programs, forge partnerships, and build organizational capacity to serve more entrepreneurs with high-quality support.

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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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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.

Abraham Lincoln

Reader responses provide a glimpse into the minds of folks who like a gamble – and Abe Lincoln

An exploration into the minds of the more than 200 people who took our survey on risk.

Traveling America, the willingness to risk for real solutions is everywhere

Jean Case urges us to ‘be fearless’ and take risks for bold new ideas in our towns and in our lives – particularly when there is opportunity for transformational change.

Western Rise

Starting up alongside the elephant in the room

Crushing student debt levels tend to defuse entrepreneurial dreams, but some are still willing to take on the outsized risks considering the potential rewards.

Jenny Poon, founder of CO+HOOTS

Speaking out on the debt dilemma

Jenny Poon has a unique perspective on student debt, as the child of immigrant parents who had to bootstrap her way to success through the American system.

Is post-industrial America ready to punch back?