$3 million Kauffman grant supports entrepreneurship education

Students from all disciplines will have access to entrepreneurship training

Washington University in St. Louis is one of eight U.S. universities selected by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to share $25 million in grants through a program designed to make entrepreneurship education available across campus and transform the way entrepreneurship is viewed, taught and experienced.

Washington University will receive $3 million to support campus-wide entrepreneurship programs.

Under the competitive Kauffman Campuses initiative – the first such program of its kind – schools must match the Kauffman grant at least 2:1, ultimately directing a minimum of $75 million for the creation of new interdisciplinary entrepreneurship education programs in American higher education.

While entrepreneurship programs traditionally have been the domain of the business school, the eight Kauffman Campuses schools boldly propose to create campus-wide entrepreneurial experiences that could affect hundreds of thousands of students. Plans range from developing an entrepreneurship minor available to all undergraduate students, to housing student entrepreneurs together, to developing and training dozens of faculty to teach entrepreneurship, to creating student-run businesses on campus.

“Entrepreneurship is not a fad – it’s an enduring American phenomenon that’s as common as getting married or having a baby”, said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “If roughly one in ten Americans are trying to start a business at any given time, shouldn’t we be preparing more to succeed? These Kauffman Campuses schools will create a boundary-less culture of entrepreneurship, empowering all students on campus to access the skills, orientation and networks that can lead to greater opportunities for them and to the creation of jobs, innovation and prosperity for America.”

The selected universities receiving multi-million dollar grants are:

• Florida International University, $3 million
• Howard University, $3.1 million
• University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, $4.5 million
• University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, $3.5 million
• University of Rochester, $3.5 million
• University of Texas-El Paso, $2 million
• Wake Forest University, $2.16 million
• Washington University in St. Louis, $3 million

The eight schools were selected by a panel of judges from 15 finalist schools that participated in the six-month Kauffman Campuses competition. In June, each of 15 finalist schools were awarded a $50,000 planning grant by the Kauffman Foundation to develop and submit an innovative, comprehensive five-year plan to inject entrepreneurship training and experiences into the fabric of the university. Additionally, the university president or chancellor from each of the 15 schools led their teams in presenting their plans to judges at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City between Dec. 9 and 11.

“College campuses are idea incubators where people learn skills and forge work habits and relationships that serve them all their lives,” said Rob Chernow, the Kauffman Foundation’s senior vice president of entrepreneurship. “We know there’s an entrepreneurial spirit sweeping across college campuses today, and we’re thrilled to build on this momentum so that entrepreneurship becomes a natural and vital aspect of the American educational experience.”

The Kauffman Campuses initiative grew out of the Foundation’s rich, 10-year history of advancing entrepreneurship, which has included substantial support of entrepreneurship education efforts at hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities. The initiative is based on the Foundation’s belief that entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of the American economy and that colleges offer an invaluable opportunity for reaching the country’s future entrepreneurs: those innovators and leaders who will invent, create jobs and fuel economic growth.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. The Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Information is available at www.kauffman.org.

(This release is based on an announcement that ran on the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Web site on Monday, Dec. 15, 2003.)