Kauffman Foundation Awards Grant to University of Montana for Research on Women in Entrepreneurship

Pursue Your Passion event encouraging women to become entrepreneurs

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a leader in advancing education and entrepreneurship that is among the largest private foundations in the United States, awarded a $25,000 grant to the University of Montana to further their understanding of women’s participation in pre-entrepreneurial stages, such as idea generation, idea evaluation, dabbling, doing, etc. and increase their involvement. Research shows that women are less likely to become entrepreneurs, and the disparities in entrepreneurial propensity between men and women appear at the earliest stages of the process. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and the Blackstone LaunchPad at University of Montana (BLP-UM) will administer the grant and conduct the pertaining research.

“Our Blackstone LaunchPad data shows only 28% of our students registered are women and just 31% of students, staff, faculty and alumni registered are women,” says Paul Gladen, Director of BLP-UM. “These data mirror national data of women in entrepreneurship and that’s a real problem when women-owned businesses make a huge difference in our local communities and beyond.” 

National data  from the American Community Survey (factfinder table B24090) shows women comprise only 35% of self-employed workers. “When we examine barriers that prevent women from engaging in entrepreneurship outlined by the Small Business Administration we see women have more domestic responsibilities than men, they are more risk averse than men, they face more discrimination than men, and more,” says Bryce Ward, Associate Director at MBBER. “However, a startup incubator like BLP-UM is pretty low-risk and knocks down some of those barriers, so why aren’t the numbers different? Or, how can we make those numbers different?”

BBER and BLP-UM have designed a one-year research plan to better understand why female students may choose not to engage in entrepreneurship and to pilot and test various activities and initiatives to increase female participation. The plan includes:

  • A survey of University of Montana and Montana State University students.
  • Development, implementation, and evaluation of a system for increasing female engagement with the LaunchPad.
  • Development and implementation of a rigorous method for tracking LaunchPad participants through the startup process and evaluate data for evidence of gendered barriers.

About the Blackstone LaunchPad at University of Montana

Blackstone LaunchPad at the University of Montana is designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, ideation and venture creation support. Developed as part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative, the program is currently available to over 350,000 students on 15 campuses in six regions across the country. For more information, visit www.umt.edu/launchpad.

About the Bureau of Business and Economic Research

A research department within the School of Business Administration at the University of Montana, Missoula. We produce a variety of economic and industry data including annual economic forecasts for the United States as well as Montana, its industries, and counties. For more information, visit www.bber.umt.edu.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.