Kauffman Foundation program could help innovate learning and education at a grand scale

This press release speaks to an innovation in improving education at the national level. Foundation sponsored programs like this that provide training, knowledge, network, resources, and some founder salary could encourage new innovations to improve education.

New Kauffman Foundation program launches search for passionate, aspiring founders of high-growth, scalable education enterprises

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) July 14, 2010 – The Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition isn’t the only program focused on dramatically improving education. Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, announced today a competitive search for up to 20 aspiring founders to launch high-growth, transformative companies in the education market.

Those selected for the Kauffman Education Ventures Program will be immersed in an intensive, hands-on program designed to catalyze the creation of companies with the potential to generate thousands of jobs and dramatic economic benefits.

“This program is the opportunity of a lifetime for high-potential entrepreneurs who don’t have the resources to quit their day jobs and take the leap of faith to start their businesses—businesses that they think will grow fast and transform education in a powerful way,” said Bo Fishback, vice president for Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “Education is a more than $1 trillion market where innovations can produce massive benefits to the world and also create huge change in the lives of individuals.”

The Education Ventures Program will equip founders with the time, resources and skills to take their ideas from thought to implementation.

Selected founders will receive six months of training and education on every aspect of running a business, personal coaching to bring their ideas to market and competitive compensation to focus full-time on their ventures. The program will include helping founders establish a brand, develop negotiation and presentation skills, go to scale, build financial models, validate the market, perform customer diligence, find funding, build a management team and develop a board of directors.

“The rapid pace of change in the education field in terms of technology, the growth of charter schools, new demands for post-secondary education and shifting priorities provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to catalyze their ideas,” said Sandy Miller, director of Advancing Innovation at the Foundation. “We are looking for the bold, visionary founders of entrepreneurial ventures that are poised to grow, show promise to be truly scalable and are able to adapt to the changes in the field.”

Through an open application process available to anyone over the age of 18 with a transformative idea, Kauffman Labs will identify up to 20 entrepreneurial concepts for the education market and work with the aspiring founders to establish their organizations. Candidates may be individual entrepreneurs or teams of up to three people. Businesses from concept through young startup that offer a product or service to help people learn, directly or indirectly, and could change the face of education are eligible. Successful candidates will need to travel to Kansas City for extended periods of time to attend training and education workshops but can otherwise live and work anywhere in the United States.

Kauffman Labs will offer two teleconferences for interested applicants to learn more and ask questions: Aug. 9 from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET and Aug. 18 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Call-in details will be announced.

Individuals interested in learning more or applying should visit www.kauffmanlabs.org. Completed applications are due September 20, 2010.

About Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation
Part school and part business accelerator, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation is a new approach to developing the next generation of high-growth firms. Tapping the Kauffman Foundation’s vast entrepreneurship knowledge and networks, the program seeks to accelerate the number and success of new firms by offering a new method for teaching and training entrepreneurs of dynamic, fast-growth, scalable businesses in a lab setting, while studying the “science of startups” in the process. For more information, visit www.kauffmanlabs.org.

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