This has been a big semester at the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship. Enrollment continues to climb in our for-credit courses, students are making great progress in their ventures, and UW is the site of a new initiative that is studying student entrepreneurship.
Weinert Center Executive Director and Professor Jon Eckhardt received a $425,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The money will fund research on how universities can better foster entrepreneurial activity and economic growth through student entrepreneurship. Eckhardt has been researching this topic since 2015.
“Student entrepreneurship is an often overlooked but very significant way that universities foster economic development” Eckhardt observed. “The impact of student startups on the Wisconsin Economy is clearly significant. For example, in 1979 then-student Judy Faulkner founded the electronic medical record company Epic after taking the UW course, ‘Computers-In-Medicine.’ Today, Epic employs nearly 10,000 people in Wisconsin and contains the medical records of 54% of patients in the U.S.”
The money for Eckhardt’s research is part of a larger distribution of $2.9 million in grants by the Kauffman foundation, aimed to research “Uncommon Methods and Metrics” regarding entrepreneurship that are not often studied. The purpose is to uncover data that will ultimately help community leaders make decisions that create more entrepreneurial environments for new and growing communities. Of all 14 recipients of the grant, Eckhardt is the only one researching the role that universities play in entrepreneurial ecosystems.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is already using a data-driven approach to help universities manage and improve their entrepreneurial communities, according to Eckhardt. The funding from the Kauffman grant, however, will allow the university to expand on these efforts. Funding will also be used to expand the Wisconsin-based research team, which currently consists of Eckhardt and Ph.D. student Bekhzod Khoshimov, to include a postdoctoral researcher who will be devoted full-time to the project.
Founded in 1966, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success nationwide. It is based in Kansas City, MO. For more information on the Foundation, visit www.kauffman.org
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