New, Interactive iStart Business Profiles Connect Entrepreneurs to Startup Community

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iStart, a Kauffman Foundation program, launches new website to enable aspiring entrepreneurs to leverage global network of founders, mentors and advisors.

Networks are the most important tools entrepreneurs have for starting and growing their companies – next to their business ideas. iStart, a global online resource for business competitions, today unveiled its new website designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to build a stronger network, get constructive feedback and connect with potential partners.

“Entrepreneurs have been sharing business concepts on iStart since it launched in 2010, and there currently are more than 8,000 innovative ideas and companies posted,” said Katie Petersen, manager of iStart. “Hundreds of those entrepreneurs have made connections with other people seeking opportunities, such as mentors, advisors and corporations looking for venture ideas. We expect those connections on the site to skyrocket now that iStart prominently features shared ideas.”

Aspiring entrepreneurs can now showcase more of their business ideas and what they need to start or grow their companies – such as partners, mentoring, marketing analysis and legal help. The ideas and plans vetted through competitions and listed on the site can include videos or slides and provide information about the business’s customer base, the solution the product provides, and the key features and competitive advantages the product or service offers. Mentors, advisors, entrepreneurs, funders and corporate venture directors can view the business profiles and have additional contact with the entrepreneurs through the website.

In addition to showcasing thousands of innovative business ideas posted by entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries, http://www.istart.org has hosted more than 125 competitions to date, including the Rice University Business Plan Competition, the world’s largest and richest competition.

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students’ math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit http://www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on http://www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and http://www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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