If you are looking to start a business and need some direction, training, networking resources or even sound advice, the Kauffman Foundation is sure to help. This well established institution provides a plethora of information for the budding and ambitious entrepreneur.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a highly regarded and well known, non-profit foundation based in Kansas City, Missouri. It has an asset base of $2 billion and is widely considered one of the largest foundations in the United States devoted to entrepreneurship. The foundations mission is “to help individuals attain economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, consistent with the aspirations of our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman.”

Originally from Garden City, Missouri, Ewing Kauffman’s entrepreneurial spirit resulted in the creation of a pharmaceutical company that grew to nearly $1 billion in sales, employing 3,400 people. Using his success, Kauffman dedicated a foundation to innovation and assisting young people and the disadvantaged in obtaining higher education. He focused daily on creating effective ways to help individuals realize their potential while simultaneously spurring the economy.

The Kauffman Foundation abides by the following key principles (from their website):

• Identify opportunities where application of the Foundation’s people, ideas, and capital can benefit society in significant and measurable ways.
• Develop innovative, research-based programs leading to practical, sustainable solutions that are widely accepted and implemented.
• Treat the Kansas City region as a program incubator where feasible, in which new approaches can be tried and tested before being disseminated nationally.
• Partner with others to leverage our resources and capabilities while avoiding the creation of dependency.

The Kauffman Foundation is a great place for any entrepreneur to start when looking for guidance, opportunity and education regarding their business idea. Some of the main areas the foundation focuses are listed below.

The Kauffman Foundation invests in programs designed to keep the entrepreneurial flame alive in boys and girls. Driving such programs is the belief that children’s inventiveness and drive can actually teach adults about being entrepreneurs.

Dedication towards working to better understand challenges minority entrepreneurs face and studying layers of social and cultural perceptions is a large focus for the foundation. Strengthening the infrastructures and networks that will help minority entrepreneurs be successful is a key component of the Kauffman Foundation’s belief system.


Based on the belief that the success of the economy is directly linked to the success and innovation of small business, The Kauffman Foundation starts with schools. Establishing entrepreneurial programs in universities and being directly involved with how they operate is at the heart of the Kauffman Foundation’s work in higher education.

The Kauffman Foundation believes that creating jobs in the United States begins by connecting investors with start-ups and early stage companies. The Kauffman Foundation built the nation’s first network of angel investor organizations, trained future venture capitalists and future leaders of high-growth companies, and studied the history and performance of investments in minority-owned enterprises.

The foundation supports programs and networks that leads to an entrepreneur’s success. Their many programs support focus on leveraging business practices in entrepreneurial leadership and teaching. The training offered supports the Kauffman goal to foster an environment that allows people to pursue their dreams of organizing and operating a business venture.

The Kauffman Foundation has numerous programs for budding entrepreneurs:

GLOBAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM – immerses young, international entrepreneurs from around the world in America’s entrepreneurial culture.

FASTTRAC – provides hands-on business development designed to help entrepreneurs hone the skills needed to create, manage and grow a successful business.

KAUFFMAN FELLOWS PROGRAM – is an elite program for venture capitalists, promoting the growth of global innovation investment.