Friday, February 13, 2009


Kauffman Foundation

The Kauffman Foundation is an organization which provides grants in the areas of education and entrepreneurship. Based in the United States it was established by Ewing Kauffman in the mid-1960's to help young people reach their full potential by finding pathways to new technologies and information on becoming an entreprenueur. You can see their web page at

The Kauffman Foundation draws on many open source ideas including collaboration principles and draws interesting comparisons to Open Innovations and the World Wide Web. Using open source ideas to make medical science more accessible is one example. Ways to improve human welfare and improve health by the creation of a Science Commons are also discussed.

Another activity the Kauffman Foundation tries to encourage is young entrepreneurship. The ability of young people to take risks and their natural curiosity combine together to create the entrepreneurial spirit. The programs supported by the Kauffman Foundation such as the All Terrain Brain and Hot Shot Business are designed to help kids develop their entrepreneurial skills.

Included in the Kauffman Foundation's web site are many embedded flash videos of student entrepreneurs. Many ideas on starting a business are discussed such as social networks, book writing and business plans. Some of the young entrepreneurs featured are as young as 19. Although the Kauffman Foundation is not the largest such foundation the grants are of significant amounts reaching several hundred thousand dollars in some cases.

The Kauffman Foundation is planning to help entrepreneurs during the current economic downturn. It has recently launched a new national training program called the FastTrac LaunchPad Initiative, designed to help entrepreneurial start-ups after a job loss. One of the goals of FastTrac, a program of the Kauffman Foundation, is a hands-on business development program designed to help entrepreneurs improve their skills to create, plan, manage, and grow a successful business. The program includes facilitator-led sessions, small-group discussions, guest experts, idea sharing with peers, and business coaching and mentoring.

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