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Start Us Up Coalition Urges Policymakers to “Rebuild Better” with Entrepreneurship-focused COVID-19 Crisis Response Plan

Bipartisan Policy Plan for Local, State, and Federal Policymakers Prioritizes Support For Female, Minority and Rural Entrepreneurs

In response to the economic crisis that has hit new and small business owners particularly hard, the Start Us Up coalition — led by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and comprising more than 150 entrepreneurship advocacy groups and organizations across the country — has released its COVID-19 Crisis Response plan urging policymakers to take steps to address the immediate and long-term needs of entrepreneurs. 

New and small businesses are at extreme risk in this crisis: nearly half don’t have the financial reserves to last more than a few weeks, and more than a quarter are unprofitable. While policymakers have prioritized support for big business for years, it is increasingly clear that new and small businesses form the backbone of the economy and account for most of the net new jobs.

The agenda calls for, among other things, radically reforming business licensing procedures to reduce red tape and designating a share of the federal bailout dollars for startups.

The crisis response plan is a bipartisan roadmap for policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels that offers a framework for stabilizing the economy today, while helping to reshape entrepreneurship in the future, making it more accessible to those who have been historically denied the tools they need to start and grow a business. 

“Rather than simply rebuilding the economy we have, let’s use this moment to rebuild the economy we want,” said Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Wendy Guillies. “Large, established companies get the seats at the table, and we end up with solutions that make it easier for the big to get bigger. Meanwhile small firms – especially those led by women, minorities, and rural residents – are left behind and new ones can’t even start. We can rebuild better.”

The Kauffman Foundation’s 2020 State of Entrepreneurship findings show entrepreneurship being vital to the economic recovery but American entrepreneurs facing increased inequalities and barriers in being able to start new businesses. During the fallout of COVID-19, 68% of American entrepreneurs believed government was prioritizing big business over small business. Even before the crisis took hold, entrepreneurs found it was far easier for men to start businesses than for women, minorities and rural residents. Despite COVID-19 causing increased economic concern, 76% of American entrepreneurs were in agreement that social distancing policies were the correct decision.

The policy roadmap is divided into short-term and long-term actions and organized around the four core needs all entrepreneurs have:

  • Opportunity: A level playing field with less red tape
  • Funding: Equal access to the right kind of capital everywhere
  • Knowledge: The know-how to start a business
  • Support: The ability for all to take risks 


About Start Us Up:

Start Us Up is a diverse group of organizations working together to eliminate barriers to starting new businesses.  For more information, visit us at

About the Kauffman Foundation:

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to increase opportunities that allow all people to learn, to take risks, and to own their success. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people be self-sufficient, productive citizens. For more information, visit and connect with us at and

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