Kauffman Foundation's 10th Annual State of Entrepreneurship Address

Summary of Study

This week the Kauffman Foundation hosted its 10th Annual State of Entrepreneurship Address. The address coincided with a new Kauffman Foundation report which found that entrepreneurship is at a 20 year high. Yet a companion state report finds that entrepreneurship varies widely by state.

In the address, Kauffman Foundation president and CEO Wendy Guillies highlighted the importance of local and hyperlocal entrepreneurship. She argued that this is what really drives the economy. This includes entrepreneurs in middle America and underserved communities. In fact, economic opportunity often varies by only a few blocks.

To boost local entrepreneurship, Ms. Guillies argued access to credit reforms must be developed. One of these initiatives is the creation of the Kauffman Foundation's Capital Access Lab, which helps businesses access credit between debt and equity. As a society, we must champion these local entrepreneurs. A more prosperous national economy starts entrepreneur by entrepreneur. 

Victor W. Hwang, Kauffman Foundation vice president of entrepreneurship, then explained how the new Kauffman Foundation report finds that 3 out of 1,000 people start a business every month. Society can make the entrepreneurial process easier for these entrepreneurs through community support and tearing down barriers. He explained how building entrepreneurial ecosystems is something that can be done anywhere. For instance, the Kauffman Foundation's 1 Million Cups initiative connects local entrepreneurs from all over the country. 

Mr. Hwang juxtaposed cities trying to attract Amazon vs. Kansas City's local entrepreneurship efforts that create even more jobs. Every single person is affected by entrepreneurs, who act as hubs of communities. Entrepreneurship ecosystems come alive when entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs come together to lift communities and lift nations. 

Then a panel conversation ensued featuring Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, Christine Lai, community activator in Los Angeles, and Kim Lane, an entrepreneur in Conway, Arkansas. Mayor James highlighted how the Amazon experience was a valuable learning experience for him and the city. He also highlighted the importance of getting out of the office and onto the street. Ms. Lai and Ms. Lane reiterated the importance of meeting people on their level. 

The panel concluded by explaining the importance of diversity in entrepreneurship, and how culture can foster it. Entrepreneurship brings people of all backgrounds and talents together. 

You can watch the full address HERE


Feature Charticle


  • The Kauffman Indicators of Early-Stage Entrepreneurship (KESE) increased from 0.50 in 2016 to 0.68 in 2017, the highest level recorded over the past two decades.

  • This increase was driven by increases in the rate of new entrepreneurs, startup early job creation, and startup early survival rate.

  • The rate of new entrepreneurs in 2017 was 0.33 percent, which reflects that 330 out of every 100,000 adults became new entrepreneurs in an average month, continuing an upward trend over the past several years.