Resources for Entrepreneurs
The economy runs on the ideas and innovations of bold new explorers who want to create something breathtakingly new, changing the world a little at a time or all at once. Entrepreneurship is part science, part art, and it’s not for the faint of heart or those who are risk-averse. To help you in your quest, we’ve put together some handy resources that entrepreneurs can use to up their game, find new funding streams and turn their dreams into reality.
To get started, simply click on the topic that interest you and the latest links will appear.
- Publications & Articles
- Technical Assistance
- Creative Economy
- Access to Capital
Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities – Center for Rural Entrepreneurial Entrepreneurship
Burn The Business Plan: What Great Entrepreneurs Do – Carl Schramm
The Rise of Rural Entrepreneurship is a report based on the 2018 Rural Rise Summit. Through six discussions, the 170 participants identified 90 valuable resources and shared almost 1,400 ideas. From this data, they developed this report summarizing some of the key insights and findings from the Rural RISE event.
Most Dynamic Metropolitans, a report by the Walton Family Foundation, measured and ranked three hundred and seventy-nine metropolitan areas across the United States according to economic performance. The report details certain industry and structural characteristics of the top-performing metro areas, including those with thriving professional, scientific, and technical services as well as those that exhibit a strong culture of entrepreneurship. It concludes that knowledge-based industries and a strong culture of entrepreneurship are critical drivers of economic growth in metropolitan areas.
The International Economic Development Council has developed Unlocking Entrepreneurship: A Handbook for Economic Developers to introduce the economic development professional to the increasingly urgent need to support entrepreneurship as a necessary strategy; explain what entrepreneurship is and who entrepreneurs are; elucidate ways to best support entrepreneurship in the community; and provide tools to help economic development professionals strengthen their communities entrepreneurship culture and build vibrant, resilient economies.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy has released the 2019 Small Business Profiles for the States and Territories. The profiles combine the latest federal data into detailed reports on the small business economy in each state.
How Accelerators Promote Regional Entrepreneurship – Small Business Administration, December 2018
Grow Your Own: Entrepreneurship Based Economic Development for Local Communities – Federal Reserve Bank
Dynamism in Retreat: Consequences for Regions, Market and Workers – Economic Innovation Group (Report Summary)
The Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship series offers in-depth measures of the people and businesses that contribute to America’s overall economic dynamism. The series consists of reports and accompanying interactive data visualizations presenting entrepreneurial trends nationally, at the state level, and for the 40 largest metropolitan areas in these categories.
Kauffman Policy Digest: As a leading funder of economic research through the lens of entrepreneurship and education, the Kauffman Foundation compiles summaries of findings around relevant policy issues that will inform and educate lawmakers in its Policy Digest. Recent editions of the Digest have featured articles on including people of color in entrepreneurship, local entrepreneurs as community pillars, and the changing nature of work.
The Business Opportunity Center offers a free introductory seven-week small business course, “Start and Grow your Small Business”. training Certification of Small Business as a woman- or minority-owned businesses (WMBE) through Washington State’s Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE), food cart program, one-on-one small business coaching and guidance, and access to capital through our partnerships. During this time we are providing assistance on finding grants and apply via teleservice.
Small Business Development Centers
Washington has a network of 21 Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the state to meet the needs of entrepreneurs who need technical assistance in formulating and launching their new enterprises.
Rural Rise is a community of organizations that aims to increase opportunities and prosperity for small and rural communities across the United States. Recognizing that innovation and entrepreneurship are blind to location, Rural RISE seeks to increase the opportunities, increase accessibility, spotlight innovation, entrepreneurial and start-up activities that work in a rural context.
The Readiness Acceleration & Innovation Network (RAIN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit life science incubator growing local companies, talent, and jobs in BioTech in the Tacoma region. They are the collaborative, boundary-crossing environment that serves to spark creativity and help innovators overcome the challenges they face by providing direct access to the people and resources needed to succeed.
Startup Champions Network
Startup Champions Network is a membership organization that provides builders of entrepreneurial ecosystems the connections, resources, and professional development they need to cultivate thriving and inclusive communities. Ecosystem builders are people who drive long-term change by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. They work to reduce barriers for entrepreneurs.
Global Entrepreneurship Network
The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of projects and programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. By fostering deeper cross border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN works to fuel healthier start and scale ecosystems that create more jobs, educate individuals, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth.
Future Founders, created in 2011, is a non-profit organization that believes every youth can become an entrepreneur. They offer age-appropriate and stage-appropriate programs to connect youth with mentors and help them build a toolkit of entrepreneurial skills. They have served over 33,000 students from elementary school through college.
The Kauffman Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit, private foundation. The Kauffman Foundation focuses on projects that encourage entrepreneurship, support education, and contribute to civic life.
Economic Innovation Group
Economic Innovation Group, a bipartisan public policy organization, brings together leading entrepreneurs, investors, economists, and policymakers from across the political spectrum to address America’s economic challenges. Their mission is to advance solutions that empower entrepreneurs and investors to forge a more dynamic economy throughout America.
Center for American Entrepreneurship
The Center for American Entrepreneurship (CAE) is a non-partisan Washington area-based 501(c)(3) policy and advocacy organization. CAE’s mission is to engage and educate policymakers in Washington, and at state and local levels across the nation, regarding the critical importance of entrepreneurs and start-ups to innovation, economic growth, and job creation, and to pursue a comprehensive policy agenda intended to significantly enhance the circumstances for new business formation, survival, and growth.
Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) is the only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs. EO helps leading entrepreneurs learn and grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and connections to experts.
Young Entrepreneurship Council
The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization for entrepreneurs under the age of 40. The perks of a YEC membership include peer-to-peer forums for 24/7 support, discounts on beneficial products and services, in-person events and an editorial team to assist you with content creation and distribution. Other benefits include the chance to participate in mentorship discussions and publication, and a complimentary FoundersCard membership as well.
FoundersCard, this is an organization that has over 15,000 members who enjoy generous networking events and many discounts are provided. For example, FoundersCard offers members discounts on travel expenses, business products and services, and even VIP benefits to improve your lifestyle.
Founded in 2010, Startup Grind has become “the global leaders in Startup Events.” Over 100,000 Entrepreneurs have attended Startup Grind in the past years. It’s now in 150+ countries with over 100 events going on each month making this one of the largest entrepreneur organizations on the planet.
Edward Lowe Foundation
Founded in 1985, the Edward Lowe Foundation aims to “champion the entrepreneurial spirit.” This foundation achieves this fantastic goal by connecting second-stage entrepreneurs with their peers through leadership programs like Economic Gardening and the PerSpectives Roundtable System. The ELF also has the beneficial tool, YourEconomy.org which tracks the performance of over 44 million businesses in the U.S.
Young Presidents Association
The Young Presidents Organization (YPO) was started in 1950 and today has approximately 25,000 business leaders in more than 130 countries. Joining the YPO affords you the opportunity to bounce ideas or seek advice from a global network on the YPO forums. The YPO also collects performance metrics and trends for quarterly reports, networking events, and roundtable discussions.
United States Association for Small Business Entrepreneurship
The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship is a community that focuses on four pillars: entrepreneurship education; entrepreneurship research; entrepreneurship outreach; and public policy. Annual membership includes subscriptions to Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice and the Journal of Small Business Management. Also included is access to their online career center with networking opportunities with fellow entrepreneurs, educators and policymakers.
National Federation of Independent Businesses
The National Federation of Independent Businesses is America’s leading small business association. They work with businesses to protect the right to own, operate, and grow a small business. Their state and federal advocacy, business advice, and membership benefits cover a range of small businesses across many industries.
Since its founding in 1980, Ashoka has become the largest network of social entrepreneurs with over 3,000 members from all over the world. Ashoka provides everything from start-up financing, networking opportunities to professional support systems.
Global Innovation Exchange is a new model of experiential education and practice to develop leaders in innovation. Starting with our project and team-based graduate degree programs, GIX will grow to include a broad array of innovation experiences for students, executives, and working professionals. The founding academic partners are the University of Washington and Tsinghua University, with foundational support from Microsoft.
One Million Cups is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and engage with their communities over a million cups of coffee, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups in 2012—a free program designed to educate, engage and inspire entrepreneurs around the country. Through the power of volunteers, 1 Million Cups has grown to more than 180 communities. As a program of the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses.
Source Link has helped identify communities ‘entrepreneurial resources and strengths to improve their value, impact and visibility. The idea is to improve entrepreneurs’ access to the vital, just-in-time, on-the-ground resources they need to accelerate their ideas and turn those into sustainable businesses that create jobs.
The US Small Business Association (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U. S. Virgin Islands and Guam
InBIA is a global non-profit organization serving a global network of incubators, accelerators and other entrepreneurial support organization. Their goal is to enrich the entire ecosystem by providing industry resources, education, events and global programming to help members better serve the needs of their unique communities and regions.
StartupNation developed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, is an online small-business community that provides free information about technology, inventions, growing your business, and more. Its Small Business Braintrust video series features industry insiders discussing and debating relevant news and strategies in a roundtable setting.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a nonprofit organization that provides expert small-business counseling. Its network consists of more than 13,000 volunteers who offer free advice and mentoring through email, phone, or face-to-face consultations. In addition, SCORE’s website is packed with tools, templates, and online workshops that assist entrepreneurs and company owners in starting, developing, and growing their operations.
Your local chamber of commerce can be an excellent resource for growing your business, particularly in your immediate community. Local chambers work to link small businesses by facilitating interaction and support within regional areas. Community chambers also help small-business owners connect with the more than 7,000 chambers of commerce worldwide.
Meet like-minded small-business professionals through the global social-networking group Meetup. Meetup connects entrepreneurs online so they can ultimately connect in person. Simply plug in your ZIP code to find a group in your area. With get-togethers happening in more than 1,100 cities, chances are you’ll find a relevant event happening near you.
EntreLaunch is an online platform by entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs that offers entrepreneurial education in every aspect of business from launching social enterprise to finding your financing to developing exit strategies. EntreLaunch has created a mobile platform where the entrepreneur, has access to courses on demand to teach how to use and apply knowledge practically to your business. Their online learning modules will be accessible via desktop and mobile. They will soon launch EntreFunds and EntreLoans – the perfect solution for entrepreneurs who need just a bit of funding to launch and validate their project.
TiE Global is a nonprofit venture devoted to entrepreneurs in all industries, at all stages, from incubation, throughout the entrepreneurial lifecycle. With a global reach and a local focus, the heart of TiE efforts lies in its five foundational programs, – Mentoring, Networking, Education, Funding, and Incubation. TiE connects the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem from early stage entrepreneurs, serial entrepreneurs, professionals at leading corporations, venture capital, angel investors, thought leaders among others. There are currently 11,000 members, including over 2,500 charter members in 60 chapters across 17 countries.
Techstars provides Accelerator portfolio companies with access to financial, human and intellectual capital to fuel the success of their business. Upon acceptance to a Techstars Accelerator, every company is offered a $100,000 convertible note. Techstars contributes $20,000, which is commonly used as a stipend to support living expenses during the program, and in return receives 6% common stock from each company.
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event, during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening. Startup Weekend has grown into an organization with a global presence. As of December 2016, Startup Weekend has reached 135 countries, involving over 210,000 entrepreneurs. Startup Weekend is one of the Techstars Startup Programs, alongside Startup Week and Startup Digest.
Ventures Seattle, a non-profit provides access to business training, capital, coaching and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential. Formerly called Washington CASH, Ventures works mostly with entrepreneurs who fall below the Housing and Urban Developments low-income guidelines in King County.
How To Do Creative Placemaking: This book is laid out to help you navigate the creative placemaking topics you might find interesting. Each section has a series of essays from some of the best minds in this 4 field, as well as case studies of projects funded through the NEA’s signature arts and community development program — Our Town. The Our Town case studies can be used to expand your imagination on what artists and the arts can do to affect the community.
Creative Workforce State Profiles. This interactive dashboard allows you to explore state-level data on America’s creative workforce. The tool reveals key employment and compensation statistics for individual states. It also supports regional comparisons, shows how arts/cultural employment compares to other industries, and illustrates trends over time.
The Economic Impact of America’s Nonprofit Arts and Culture Industry released its fifth national study of the economic impact of arts organizations on local communities, Americans for the Arts. The study, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5), is the largest study of its kind ever conducted. The report demonstrates what is known to be true: the nonprofit arts and culture industry is an economic driver in communities – a growth industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is a cornerstone of tourism. AEP5 is a unique guide for how to best create effective advocacy and community engagement programs, focusing on the local economic benefits of arts and culture organizations.
How To Do Creative Placemaking: This book is laid out to help you navigate the creative placemaking topics you might find interesting. Each section has a series of essays from some of the best minds in this 4 field, as well as case studies of projects funded through the NEA’s signature arts and community development program — Our Town. The Our Town case studies can be used to expand your imagination on what artists and the arts can do to affect community.
Place Matters: The Role of Place Making in Economic Development. Placemaking is a community and economic development strategy that seeks to use local assets to create appealing and unique places where people want to live, work, and play. This new research examines how economic development benefits from placemaking and provides examples of transformational projects that range from single buildings to neighborhoods and regions.
The Role of Artists and the Arts in Creative Placemaking. This publication aims to retrace the dialogue that occurred at the symposium of the same title, and to provide a basis for future American-European encounters about the role of the arts in transformation processes of the urban environment.These articles by the presenters are intended to help others orient themselves when talking about the complex role arts and culture play in inspiring urban development in light of the rapid depletion of economic growth’s ample resources.
The Kresge Foundation Arts & Culture Program: The First Decade (12 pages, PDF). This paper explores The Kresge Foundation Arts & Culture Program’s evolution over the last decade from capital challenge grants, capitalization and community arts, to Creative Placemaking. Designed primarily but not exclusively for peer funders, it tells the high-level story of the complexities involved in navigating change; and articulates Kresge’s distinctive brand of Creative Placemaking to assist, inform and guide those who may find value in our transition. It is the first in a series of Creative Placemaking white papers to be published throughout 2018.
“Case Studies: Art, Culture and Community-Engaged Design Help Invigorate Neighborhoods in Cleveland, Washington D.C.” The integration of arts, culture and community-engaged design into community development has injected new life into post-industrial neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C. – and those successes are chronicled in depth in a pair of case studies and companion videos released by The Kresge Foundation and Point Forward. The studies describe how key stakeholders – residents, nonprofits, developers and local government – worked together to help invigorate neighborhoods using local creative assets as drivers of positive change.
MENTOR Washington promotes, supports, and expands quality mentoring that fosters positive youth development, academic success, and job and career readiness.
MicroMentor is a free, easy-to-use social network that allows entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors to connect so they can solve problems and build businesses together.
SCORE Mentors is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. Because our work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to our network of 10,000 volunteers, we are able to deliver our services at no charge or at very low cost. They provide Volunteer mentors who share their expertise across 62 industries, free business tools, templates and tips and more.
Access To Capital Among Minority Owned Startups – Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA-PBL) is the largest career student business organization in the world. Each year, FBLA-PBL helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business. FBLA-PBL’s mission is to bring business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.
Youth Entrepreneurs® is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and 100% of donor funding goes to support our programs. Youth Entrepreneurs began as an eight-week program, eventually expanding into a yearlong, accredited course and experiential adventure for students in high school. More than 25 years later, YE has inspired thousands of high school students across the nation to achieve more than they ever thought possible
Future Founders immerses youth in experiences that inspire and empower them to create their own opportunity. Future Founders believe this leads to a generation more determined, hopeful and equipped as they engage the future. To date, their programs have served over 33,000 youth. They seek to empower the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.