BX Challenge supports diverse entrepreneurs in Chicago area

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has announced its first cohort of eight organizations in the Chicago-area entrepreneurship challenge. Named the BX Challenge, up to $3 million in grant funding will be provided over three years to innovative organizations that effectively recruit and support diverse entrepreneurs and scale startups in the Chicago area. The selected programs will serve underserved populations, including communities of color, women, veterans, and immigrants. The inaugural cohort includes SSTI member UI Labs, which was awarded $100,000 to create a partnership between City Digital and Colony 5 to help community based start-ups tackle urban challenges and explore ideas on smart city developments through entrepreneurship. Other inaugural cohort awardees include:

Kauffman: Startup activity reaches pre-recession levels

The Kauffman Foundation’s recently updated Index of Startup Activity finds that startup activity has increased for the third consecutive year and has now reached pre-recession levels. Nationally, the index, which measures business startup activity from 1997 to 2016, increased moderately after two years of sharp growth. Interactive data is available at both the state and metropolitan level. Among the 25 largest states, California, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Colorado, had the highest startup activity in 2017, while Oklahoma, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Nevada led among the 25 smaller states. Miami, Austin, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas were the metropolitan areas with the highest startup activity.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems gain momentum, stimulate growth

The Kauffman Foundation released a new report analyzing entrepreneur development in St. Louis and Kansas City. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Momentum and Maturity, The Important Role of Entrepreneur Development Organizations and Their Activities, by Ken Harrington, proposes a framework that names a four-step entrepreneur development process from problems and ideas to customer-funded venture that feeds into higher-stage venture development and, ultimately, economic development. Under this framework, Harrington explores how entrepreneurship is supported in each community by organizations such as KCSourceLink and BioSTL. Findings include that community-led initiatives provide the bulk of entrepreneurship activities and that most participants in these activities are in the startup stage of their idea’s development.

Ohio Third Frontier reinvests in Dayton-, Toledo-based entrepreneurial support

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission (Third Frontier) has announced investments in entrepreneurial service providers (ESP’s) in the Dayton and Toledo regions. A new collaboration focused on health innovation will lead the initiative in Toledo, while an existing entrepreneurial center will lead programming in Dayton. Both regions had been among Ohio’s largest without a dedicated ESP.  The state also awarded funds for its first joint-university program at Cleveland State University and Kent State University, and for commercialization activities at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Kauffman: Entrepreneurship rebounding, mega trends shaping future

Entrepreneurship is on the rebound following a “Great Recession hangover,” according to a new study by the Kauffman Foundation, but turbulent shifts will affect its shape in the coming years. During its eighth annual State of Entrepreneurship address in Washington D.C. this morning, Wendy Guillies, Kauffman president and CEO, outlined how, despite the resurgence, new firm formation remains in a long-term deficit and called for a “national wakeup call.”

DHS amends regulations for foreign entrepreneurs

The Department of Homeland Security has amended its regulations surrounding its discretionary parole authority in order to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the U.S. The final rule, which will go into effect July 17, adds new provisions that can be used on a case-by-case basis with respect to foreign entrepreneurs of start-up entities who can demonstrate a potential for rapid business growth and job creation, and thus provide a significant public benefit to the U.S. That potential could be indicated by, among other things, the receipt of significant capital investment from U.S. investors with established records of successful investments, or by obtaining significant awards or grants from certain federal, state or local government entities. If granted, the parole would provide a temporary initial stay of up to 30 months (which may be extended by up to an additional 30 months) to facilitate the applicant's ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up entity in the United States.

Veteran Entrepreneurship: Where Things Stand

This week, America remembers the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and its entrance into World War II. Veterans of World War II have had a considerable impact on the current economy: The Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that World War II veterans had the highest rates of self-employment of any period of service. The topic of veteran entrepreneurship, however, has received relatively little scholarly attention compared to other aspects of the military experience, according to a recently released report by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. This research, which examines qualitative and quantitative research on the topic, coupled with new datasets emphasizing the demographics of self-employment, sheds light on the current state of veteran entrepreneurship.

Kauffman Grants $4.3M to Initiatives Supporting Women and Minority Entrepreneurs

As a way to support populations that are underrepresented in entrepreneurial activities, the Kauffman Foundation has announced $4.3 million in grants to 12 organizations that provide entrepreneurial support services to women and minorities. The awardees were selected from more than 376 applicants and range in both geography and industry-focus. They will receive awards ranging from $87,000 to $420,000 over the next two years. The Kauffman Foundation Inclusion Challenge grantees are:

EDA Awards Nearly $35M for Economic Prosperity in Several States, Coal-Impacted Communities

Over the last two months, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has made nearly $35 million in investments intended to spur economic prosperity across the country including nearly $28 million for communities impacted by transformations in the energy industry. These efforts are intended to unlock the potential of regional assets including community members, local institutions of higher education, and regional industies by funding entrepreneurship, innovation, research and development (R&D) activities, and other capacity-building efforts. Among these investments, the EDA announced the winners of the University Center Economic Development Program Competition; and, Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative.

Welcoming America Toolkit Describes Tactics to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Although much has been written on the value of immigrant entrepreneurship, relatively little research to date focuses on strategies for supporting these individuals. Welcoming America, a national nonprofit and non-partisan organization focused on immigrant inclusion, has addressed this gap by releasing a how-to-guide for those interested in supporting immigrant entrepreneurship in their cities. Produced with Global Detroit, an initiative focused on southeast Michigan’s international community, Seeds of Growth describes practical ways for regions across the nation to leverage opportunities associated with including immigrant entrepreneurs in local economic development strategies and programs.


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