Entrepreneurship · Education

Is the Kauffman foundation having an impact?

Bill Wade Software Engineer at Cloudflow

March 18th, 2016

I met some folks from the KauffmanFoundation at SxSW this year and I was shocked at how much money they have and also appreciate their goal of assisting with entrepreneurship. Nevertheless, mostly I hear about them from a research perspective and I was surprised I really don't hear about them more (much at all). Is there a better way they could be programming, educating, etc?
Curious to hear others thoughts, especially if you have experience with them. Their site is here: kauffman.org
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Helen Adeosun

March 18th, 2016

Kauffman is incredible! I come from the non profit and education world so I am always cynical about the intentions of organization spearheaded by families/donors that have very clear agendas that may be misinformed. Kauffman is quite the exception. I have experienced 1Million Cups one of their programs as an entrepreneur in Cedar Rapids, IA. Our company is based in Boston (much larger startup ecosystem for comparison) and what is astounding is that Kauffman's program undergirds the ecosystem and relies heavily (and efficiently ) on passionate grassroots leaders here Sarah Binder and David Tominsky. It's remarkable how well they are able to insert themselves organically into an existing framework and ecosystem without steam rolling it as I have seen orgs like Kauffman do in other contexts. Iowa is just one case so would love to hear others. 

Michael Burack

March 18th, 2016

It seems to me that Kaufman is very locally oriented....Any suggestions on how to bring them to my town....Chicago....for some entrepreneurship help?

Stephen PMP Project Management Professional

March 18th, 2016

I've followed Kauffman for the past 2 years or so and have really seen their brand and offerings mature a good bit.  I've tuned in to 1MC, and it's a great free forum to watch and hear pitches with feedback and critique from fellow entrepreneurs.  Kauffman also has recently built and developed a great self-guided video learning series which I share with entrepreneurs often.  They are short, yet comprehensive and digestible enough that if you need or want to explore further you have a great grasp of what to expect.  Great mission, and I appreciate their execution.

Michael Barnathan

March 18th, 2016

They are, but it's a targeted one. If you're looking for financial assistance from them, it's usually a "we'll find you, don't find us" scenario. They're doing a bunch of things on the ground in Kansas City as well... IIRC they run a school there.

John Mandeville Board Member, Vermont Agricultural and Forestry Product Development Board at State of Vermont

March 18th, 2016

I have been certified to teach the Kauffman entrepreneur training programs for several years. They are great programs, but most wannabe or existing small business owners I know are unwilling to commit the time required to really take full advantage of the programs and they are not willing to pay what they cost unless they can do so with some sort of scholarship to help cover that cost. My impression has been for a long time that the Kaufmann Foundation talks a very good game but is very short on delivery. John Mandeville

Tanya Wright Crystal Burset on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and creator of HAIRiette of HARLEM hairiette.com

March 20th, 2016

I also took the Kauffman-sponsored FastTrack program in NY. It is time intensive (I considered it an investment in the business) and really helped me to hone in--cut the fat--and make sure the action plan for the business was in alignment with the mission of the business. I'd recommend it.

Murdoch Morrison Chairman at DMBA Global, Inc

March 18th, 2016

Bill.... For an expansion project I am running, we applied through one of the Kaufman Community College partnerships for the $100K level... I used it mainly to exercise the proforma template material they had built... not sure whether that was from Kaufman or from the Community College staff. The template is pretty good, although we subsequently did our own much more complex template. For small funding, their program makes sense.. If you get the award, the consultancy provided may prove quite valuable (again, that depends on the caliber and competence of the staff at the Community College.). Our deal really needs about $5.5 million to go to the next level, so I was going after the $100K simply to broaden the availability of technology for internal testing. That did not meet their criteria of use... not surprising. All that said.,..I was impressed with the structure and attempt to utilize competent personnel who are (relatively) local to recruit, award and manage potential projects. My sense was that, bcause of the consultancy component, the probability of project success is enhanced significantly. The devil is always in the details, but I hope that Kaufman continues their approach to using Community Colleges as partners in entrepreneurial development. I'll be glad to answer specific questions if you have them. Thanks and best regards

Joe Milam Entrepreneur | Sales Professional | Business Connection Catalyst

March 18th, 2016

I took a Kauffman sponsored course in 2006 to help me with my second tech startup.  The class was called FastTrack TechVenture.  It was lead by local economic development professionals and seasoned entrepreneurs.  I learned a great deal from the class and at completion had a well baked business plan and and the opportunity to practice numerous times pitching my startup.  The Kauffman Foundation helped cover most of our costs along with the SCRA (South Carolina Research Authority).  I would recommend any of these classes to anyone thinking of starting a tech business.  There are other classes they offer for non-tech. 

Mark Neild Empowering quietly creative people to prosper through innovative yet authentic and engaging business models

March 22nd, 2016

I love that Kauffman sponsor startup weekend.  I have organised and mentored on a number of them over the years and the learning (both for me and the startups have been superb). They have also done some great research on the effectiveness of accelerators.  Where I struggle is how to engage with them.  I am chairman of a charity www.growmovement.org that coaches entrepreneurs in the least developed Afican countries using experienced mentors from 65 nations.  I have written to the Kauffman foundation via their website but never had a reply.  Any help / introductions gratefully received.

Ramon Ray Editor, Smart Hustle Magazine

March 22nd, 2016

Kauffman for sure is doing good work - they fund many of the great projects/campaigns/orgnizations that educate and power other startups