Kauffman Foundation Policy Digest Explains Connection between Entrepreneurship and the ‘Platform’ Economy

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Digest explores the growing platform economy’s capacity for enabling economic independence

“Our founder, entrepreneur Ewing Kauffman, strongly believed that entrepreneurship was a way to achieve economic independence,” said Jason Wiens, Kauffman Foundation policy director.

The shift toward a platform economy, in which online structures allow people to exchange products and services on demand, has implications for both economic independence and the future of entrepreneurship. That’s according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s latest Entrepreneurship Policy Digest, released today. The policy brief aggregates information about this new and growing economic factor, exploring what it is, what it means and how it connects to entrepreneurship and economic independence.

Between 16 percent and 34 percent of Americans make their living in non-traditional employment roles, including contract, temporary help agency or freelance work. The platform economy attracts workers who may want flexible hours or supplemental income, and some research indicates these alternative work arrangements accounted for all net job growth from 2005 to 2015.

“Our founder, entrepreneur Ewing Kauffman, strongly believed that entrepreneurship was a way to achieve economic independence,” said Jason Wiens, Kauffman Foundation policy director. “As more Americans generate income through platform economy work, it will be important to understand whether this phenomenon provides a way to economic self-sufficiency.”

While the platform economy may discourage entrepreneurial ventures – particularly lesser-quality ones – it also has potential to serve as an entrepreneurial stepping stone for those who want to test their ability to succeed at independent work and deal with income volatility.

The Policy Digest recommends strategies to allow people to find work best suited to their skills, whether traditional employment, entrepreneurship or platform economy opportunities.
Read the full Digest here >

The Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Policy Digests consist of summaries of findings around relevant policy issues that will inform and educate policymakers. Read more Policy Digests and sign up to receive notification of subsequent Digests here. >

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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, Missouri, 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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