The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, has announced the launch of a $7 million grantmaking program to address the systemic barriers standing in the way of disadvantaged entrepreneurs.
Through its Inclusion Open program, the foundation will award grants ranging between $50,000 and $500,000 to U.S. nonprofit and for-profit organizations working to address and/or dismantle barriers to disadvantaged entrepreneurs such as access to training, mentoring, and capital, as well as the root causes of those barriers, including racial bias, poverty, social isolation, and broader demographic changes.
"We know entrepreneurs from many diverse backgrounds face weighty barriers," said Victor Hwang, vice president of entrepreneurship at the foundation. "These barriers impose a high cost to the U.S. economy in terms of job creation and innovation. For example, minority and female entrepreneurs encounter especially persistent barriers that limit their ability to start and grow companies. Kauffman research has found that if minorities started and owned businesses at the same rate non-minorities do, the United States would have more than one million additional employer businesses and approximately nine-point-five million more jobs in the economy."