Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneur Fellowship Program Launches in Boston and Silicon Valley

1/8/09Follow @bbuderi

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The Foundry and Exploramed. Both are based in Menlo Park, CA, and both focus on medical device businesses chiefly, Mitchell says.

Mitchell says fellows will be asked to keep rigorous notes and report back weekly and monthly on process, lessons learned, mistakes, and everything else associated with being an entrepreneur. All the fellows—there will only be 3 or 4 to start—will then be brought to Kansas City each quarter. “We’re sharing lessons and talking about what are we learning,” she says. The idea is to take those lessons “and create greater programs” in other sectors, including information technology, and also study “what are the lessons across verticals.”

“We literally can start figuring out the science of startups as we go,” she says. “I think it will be hard, but very interesting.”

In conjunction with the Entrepreneur Fellows program, the Kauffman Foundation is announcing the creation of an Entrepreneur Postdoctoral Fellows program that will fund entrepreneurship training for 12 post-doctoral researchers at various institutions across the country. More on that program should soon be available on the foundation’s website.

Mitchell says the foundation is the largest funder of economic research in the U.S. relative to entrepreneurship—and that its mission is more important now than ever. “There is now the reality that the only way we’re going to see growth is through the creation of new firms,” she says. In one report the foundation commissioned, Entrepreneurs and Recessions: Do Downturns Matter?,  Infectious Greed blogger Paul Kedrosky chronicles the role of entrepreneurs during past recessions. Mitchell’s take: “Many of our great firms have been founded during a recession. In many cases there are more business opportunities now.”

Bob is Xconomy's founder and editor in chief. You can e-mail him at bbuderi@xconomy.com, call him at 617.500.5926. Follow @bbuderi

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