Home > Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, nonprofits and volunteerism, small business and entrepreneurship > Learnings from Startup America Partnership’s first 18 months show networks and resources critical for startup growth should begin at the regional level

Learnings from Startup America Partnership’s first 18 months show networks and resources critical for startup growth should begin at the regional level

December 6, 2012

Learnings from Startup America Partnership’s first 18 months show networks and resources critical for startup growth should begin at the regional level

Source: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

How does a newly formed nonprofit organization tasked with helping entrepreneurs across America effectively serve startups that are in different places, in different industries and with wildly different needs? Region by region.

This is the central lesson found in "The Start Uprising," a white paper released today by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that examines where the Startup America Partnership started and where it is now. It is a story chock full of lessons for anyone interested in being a catalyst for entrepreneurship.

Launched at the White House in January 2011 as a demonstration project by the Kauffman Foundation and the Case Foundation, Startup America Partnership initially focused on helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground by delivering free or low-cost services and connecting them with large corporations.

By mid-2012, however, the initiative’s leaders had discovered that what startup entrepreneurs need most is the mentorship and fellowship of other entrepreneurs who can help them avoid missteps and point them toward customers, funders and talent. This learning shifted Startup America Partnership’s focus toward becoming the catalyst for a movement of entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, through startup regions.

"This paper sums up why a startup region strategy has become Startup America Partnership’s organizing principle, and how their experience can benefit any organization that wants to promote entrepreneurship," said Dane Stangler, director of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation. "What Startup America Partnership seeks to achieve is critically important to America’s economic recovery and long-term prosperity. The more they can provide connections and resources locally that help startups grow faster, the more quickly these companies will become job creators."

Pivoting to regional hubs was a response to what the Startup America Partnership team learned was a lack of connectedness among entrepreneurs and is consistent with Kauffman research that challenged misconceptions about where high-growth companies start and what entrepreneurs need to succeed.

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