July 21, 2005--The first center under the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership has opened in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Urban Entrepreneur Center will serve as the model center for others opening in target cities, such as Atlanta, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, under the partnership launched by President Bush in late 2004.
The centers, supported by resources from private, public, and non-profit entities, aim to provide guidance for minority entrepreneurs on starting and sustaining a business in the current, fast-paced economy. The center in Kansas City, which hosts experts and former entrepreneurs as instructors, will test training and support techniques on a sample group of minority entrepreneurs for future centers opening across the country within the next five years.
According to research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which as part of the UEP is funding and launching the Kansas City Urban Entrepreneur Center, minorities are 50% more likely to engage in start-up activities than Caucasians. However, "statistics for business formation reveal that minorities are not as successful in getting their businesses off the ground or in growing them to scale," said Carl Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, in a statement.
Daryl Williams, director of Minority Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, pointed to inequities in education, starting capital, and networking as causes for the lower number of successful minority-owned businesses. Williams expressed hope that these centers will change the mindset some have about minority-owned businesses. "We want to raise the bar for minority entrepreneurship," he said.