Kauffman Foundation Launches ‘Zero Barriers to Startup’ at State of Entrepreneurship Address

Mark Marich | February 16, 2017


Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, unveiled plans for a new initiative to identify large and small barriers to new business creation to reverse the long-term decline in entrepreneurship.

Through Zero Barriers to Startup, Kauffman will work with entrepreneurs and policymakers to develop solutions and empower more entrepreneurs to pursue their ambitions.

“As a nation, we must re-create the conditions in which optimism can thrive. We must increase support not only for entrepreneurship, but also for the key ingredients of its success,” said Guillies. “We must remove the barriers that have been erected and develop communities that will encourage, guide and reinforce startups.”

The speech was part of Kauffman’s annual State of Entrepreneurship Address, delivered in Washington D.C. to members of Congress, their staff and other thought leaders in the nation’s capital.

“Mr. Kauffman believed that if you have an idea, you have a fundamental right to start a business to make it a reality... So, we are taking this challenge head-on—just as our founder would have. For the next several years, our focus will be on this aspiration: Zero Barriers to Startup.”

The Kauffman Foundation also released a related report that reveals three megatrends that are fundamentally reshaping entrepreneurship in America:

  1. New demographics of entrepreneurship: The U.S. is becoming more racially diverse, but entrepreneurs – 80.2 percent white and 64.5 percent male – do not reflect the changing population. 
  2. New map of entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship is an increasingly urban phenomenon, and it is taking place in mid-sized metros and outside traditional hubs like Boston and Silicon Valley. 
  3. New nature of entrepreneurship: In the past, as companies grew their revenue, jobs would scale at almost the same pace. That’s no longer true. Technology has made it possible for startups to grow revenue without as much hiring, and high-growth companies by revenue are not creating as many jobs as they did in the past. 

The Zero Barriers to Startup portal provides advice and easy-to-digest lessons to help entrepreneurs develop ideas, get started and grow their business. 

Mark Marich
Mark is the executive vice president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network where he helps provide strategic direction while overseeing its... About the Author