Global Researchers Join Forces to Shed Light on the World’s Entrepreneurs

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Kauffman Foundation announces Global Entrepreneurship Research Network to provide actionable knowledge for entrepreneurs, policymakers, programs; President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry laud its potential.

Most of the world is convinced of the importance of entrepreneurship. The next generation of entrepreneurship must answer the question, so now what do we do about it?

As this week’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) demonstrates, entrepreneurship has been embraced around the world by governments, individuals and other organizations. Spurred by events such as next month’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, the number of programs aimed at encouraging more entrepreneurship has increased rapidly. Research has not kept pace with this booming interest—the ensuing lack of knowledge and evidence about what entrepreneurs need to succeed is a serious barrier to advancing entrepreneurship worldwide.

Addressing the GES audience, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today announced a new effort designed to help fill this research void. A collaboration among the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and several research organizations will establish the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network. The goals of this network are to:

  •     Generate useful and actionable knowledge for entrepreneurs, policymakers and others;
  •     Fill gaps in what we know about entrepreneurship;
  •     Standardize data, especially longitudinal survey work;
  •     Conduct experiments and evaluation of entrepreneurship education and training programs;
  •     Gain a better understanding of policy barriers and what the right policies are for fostering entrepreneurship.

"We must make sure governments support entrepreneurs and the amazing work you are all doing," Kerry told the GES delegates. "That's why President Obama is joining forces with organizations like the Kauffman Foundation, the World Bank and others to create a new research network that will help policymakers promote growth in startups."

Likewise, in comments shared via video broadcast, President Obama shared his enthusiasm for "a new research network that will equip governments with proven tools to help entrepreneurs succeed."

The organizations participating in the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network commit to collecting and sharing research results so they are accessible, usable and open. Kauffman, the World Bank and Endeavor Insight are the research network's key founding partners.

“Most of the world is convinced of the importance of entrepreneurship. The next generation of entrepreneurship must answer the question, so now what do we do about it?” said Dane Stangler, director of Research and Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Collaborating with leading organizations and scholars will make the potential for improved learning and research in entrepreneurship massive – especially for sharing what is learned across countries, sectors and programs.”

The research network will engage in the following activities:

  •     Support research that advances the foregoing goals;
  •     Translate research into policy actions; and
  •     Generate lessons and insights for entrepreneurs and programs.

Following the launch of the research network at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, next steps include:

  •     Sharing a research agenda that will guide the activities and decisions of the network;
  •     Identifying researchers and programs for collaboration;
  •     Organizing events that allow participants and others to come together and advance the network’s goals.

“The beauty of entrepreneurship is its diversity – there is no common entrepreneurial pathway that every entrepreneur follows (or should follow),” said Rhett Morris, director of Endeavor Insight. “We do not intend to circumvent this diversity or suggest that we can somehow promote ‘best practices’ for entrepreneurship. The research will reflect this diversity.”

Massive public and private investments are pouring into entrepreneurship programs all around the world, yet very little evidence exists to guide these investments or indicate which ones are worthwhile. There are limits, too, to sharing lessons across countries, in part because of different definitions and varying data collection. Tomorrow, the Kauffman Foundation is hosting a Policy Roundtable at the GES where entrepreneurship policymakers from around the world will share ideas on how to best promote startup creation and growth through policies and programs.

As part of the preliminary work leading up to forming the research network, Kauffman researchers looked at 10 assessments of global entrepreneurship and innovation, all produced within the past few years, containing 71 individual indicators. The researchers found that eight of these indicators correlated well with each other and had the highest correlation with the World Bank’s measure of new firm density. Because simple rankings often can be misleading and unhelpful to policymakers looking to promote entrepreneurship, the researchers compiled the eight indicators into scorecards for selected countries that can be used for gauging a country’s progress on certain measures.

“This exercise certainly is not definitive – it represents a rough attempt to synthesize various global measures of entrepreneurship, and we are happy to share these scorecards,” said Stangler. “Most importantly, this illustrates the need for not only standardized data but also better research on the entrepreneurial process and what policymakers can do to support entrepreneurial growth.”

The following research organizations, funders and implementers are joining the Kauffman Foundation, Endeavor Insight and the World Bank to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network: the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, the Argidius Foundation, the Lemelson Foundation, MaRS Data Catalyst, Nesta, Omidyar Network and the Rockefeller Foundation.

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. 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, and follow the Foundation on and

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