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Kauffman Foundation grant will help ASU diversify entrepreneurship


December 02, 2016

With support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Inclusion Challenge, the Arizona State University Entrepreneurship and Innovation team is launching a new initiative to welcome more women and people of color into and along their journey of entrepreneurship.  

The foundation’s $245,000 grant will help entrepreneurship program leaders from ASU and in the greater community, develop best practices for diversity and inclusion. Program leaders will develop innovative ideas to support diversity and inclusion, test those ideas, and receive mentoring, networking and other support services throughout the process. At the end of 2017, E+I will compile the initiative’s most successful ideas and share them with organizations working toward similar goals.

“At ASU, we measure our success by whom we include and how they succeed,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU. “Support from the Kauffman Foundation continues to help us engage diverse entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds, ensuring that our communities are reaching their full potential.”

In 2015, women made up only about 36.3 percent of new entrepreneurs. Only 18 percent of businesses that received venture capital in 2013 had one or more women on the executive team with less than 3 percent of the CEOs of these businesses being women. Latinos and minorities are underrepresented among business owners, and few investors and entrepreneurs see diversity as a priority. Women and minority entrepreneurs’ lack of access to the resources to reach their entrepreneurial potential results in loss of jobs, tax revenue and possible solutions to social problems.

“ASU is committed to serving our student, faculty and community entrepreneurs through programs that break down barriers and provide lasting influence and value,” said Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president of strategic partnerships and programs, who accepted the grant award at the Kauffman Mayor’s Conference on Entrepreneurship on Dec. 1 in St. Petersburg, Florida. “This grant from the Kauffman Foundation will help us identify our strengths and best practices, and share it with like-minded organizations and individuals for a much bigger impact.” 

ASU Entrepreneurship and Innovation and 11 other organizations around the United States were selected from a competitive pool of nearly 400 applicants.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. A $5 million grant in 2006 from the Kauffman Foundation was instrumental in establishing ASU as an entrepreneurial university, allowing ASU to become known for its unique and effective approach to growing an entrepreneurial enterprise within a public university system.

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