Startup Weekend Launches Startup Foundation Initiative with Kauffman

September 27, 2011

12:46 am

Startup Weekend, a global grassroots network of entrepreneurs and community leaders, just announced Startup Foundation, an initiative in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that will support more vibrant regional startup communities across the US and beyond. The grassroots initiative aims to help various regions establish stronger ecosystems that should ultimately result in more high-growth entrepreneurs, startups and jobs.

Also announced, Startup Weekend has a new board of directors which includes some of the most influential leaders in entrepreneurship today, which is key to the organization leading new initiatives beyond the now famous Startup Weekends. The board includes:

  • Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation
  • Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur and author; entrepreneurship lecturer at U.C. Berkeley and Stanford University
  • Greg Gottesman, managing director at Madrona Venture Group
  • Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars and managing director of the Foundry Group
  • Laura McKnight, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
  • Nick Seguin, manager of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation

Startup Weekends, which we’ve covered several times including many of the resulting startups, are literally weekend events in cities around the world where aspiring startup founders and enthusiasts meet to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch companies. At each event, teams compete to win the top spot with some teams, like Zaarly, Look.ioPicture.ly and Omaze continuing on, and others going back to the drawing board. But in the past, that’s pretty much where it ended. With funding from the Kauffman Foundation, the new Startup Foundation will focus on researching and mapping the ecosystems of participating cities to identify influential leaders, programs and gaps in community resources. They will then support worthy local programs to strengthen those ecosystems while also raising funds for local entrepreneurship support initiatives.

The Startup Foundation has eight pilot member cities including Des Moines, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Boston, Las Vegas and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The critical pieces of this puzzle are the individual foundation co-founders from each city who are mapping their local entrepreneurial ecosystem and interviewing members of those communities. These key leaders will be fundamental to the success of the pilot program. Also important to the program is the cross-network communication, ensuring that helpful information is shared amongst the city leaders to help improve all programs across the network.

To drill that point home, Startup Foundation has hosted local startup summits in each of the pilot cities to bring leadership together to discuss their visions for entrepreneurial ecosystems and to identify opportunities and obstacles. Already, these summits have led to the launch of more than 40 new initiatives that are estimated to support more than 7,200 entrepreneurs, 840 startup teams and 800 jobs.

How can you get your city involved? To join the Startup Foundation initiative, a participating city is required to dedicate a leader who will manage the Foundation’s local activities and raise $100,000 in capital to invest in their local efforts. At least 10 additional cities are expected to join the Startup Foundation in the next year.

Watch the Startup Foundation video here.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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