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Kauffman Foundation and Leading Entrepreneurship Advocates Call on Policymakers to Address 20+ Years of Stagnant Startup Rates

Bipartisan Policy Plan for Local, State, and Federal Policymakers Will Reduce Barriers to Entrepreneurship for Women, People of Color, and Rural Residents

American entrepreneurship and the rate of new businesses have remained essentially flat for nearly 20 years — a troubling trend due in part to women, people of color, and rural residents facing barriers when it comes to starting a new business.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, in collaboration with over a dozen entrepreneurship advocacy groups, is launching a coalition called Start Us Up and releasing a policy plan called America’s New Business Plan to provide policymakers at the local, state, and federal level a bipartisan roadmap for reducing barriers to entrepreneurship and spurring more startups across the country to create new jobs as a potential recession looms large.

A misguided focus by policymakers has prioritized support for entrenched, large businesses over young, scrappy businesses. This despite the fact that entrepreneurs — not big businesses — are responsible for almost all net new job creation.

“America’s economy is out of balance. We’ve got businesses that have become too entrenched and powerful, while people and communities across America are being left behind,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “There’s a solution. Supporting and expanding entrepreneurship increases jobs, innovation, and productivity.”

America’s New Business Plan outlines four core categories of support that are needed yet are often denied to — or don’t exist for — entrepreneurs, especially women, people of color, and rural residents.

  • Opportunity: A level playing field and 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

The plan outlines a mix of straightforward steps alongside more ambitious things policymakers can do to strengthen access to entrepreneurship, including:

  • Creating a single checklist of everything entrepreneurs need to do from a regulatory perspective to start a new business
  • Reforming immigration policy to establish a startup visa that authorizes foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses in the U.S.
  • Expanding access to capital
  • Providing a stronger safety net that includes things like more affordable health care options and student loan relief

“While there is a lot of partisan conflict among policymakers today, entrepreneurship is an area we should all agree on,” said former Kansas City Mayor Sly James. “Everyone wants to create new jobs. This is the path for getting there.”

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 create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful. 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 follow the Foundation on and

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