Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Kauffman Inclusion Open

Challenge

Kauffman research shows that if minorities started and owned businesses at the same rate as non-minorities, the US would have more than 1M additional businesses and approximately 9.5M more jobs in the economy. Regardless of race, women are half as likely as men to own businesses.

Actions

The Kauffman Foundation launched the Inclusion Open, which provides grants to organizations that provide innovative programs designed to remove startup barriers for diverse entrepreneurs. These barriers can include mentoring, supplier diversity, mental health, education, talent development, and inclusion training.

In designing this program, Kauffman associates traveled to communities to learn about the challenges entrepreneurs face. These insights directly informed our funding strategy. Examples of funded projects include Digital Undivided, an accelerator focused on helping women of color in technology, and MORTAR, which is building a series of place-based entrepreneurship training tools designed to mitigate the effects of gentrification.

We will regularly convene these organizations to share learning and best practices nationally.

Outcomes

Through the Kauffman Inclusion Open, we’ve invested over $9M in 30+ organizations supporting diverse entrepreneurs in communities across the country. To date, over 3,000 entrepreneurs have received assistance, with over 80% of those entrepreneurs reporting increased knowledge and skills.

Starting a business is hard for every entrepreneur, but for women and people of color, the barriers are often very hard to overcome. Our Inclusion Open program supports organizations that are removing or lowering those barriers so that achieving the American Dream of business ownership is accessible to all.

Wendy Guillies, president & CEO, Kauffman Foundation

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