The Kauffman Foundation this week announced the Heartland Challenge, a new funding opportunity for nonprofits that support entrepreneurs.
The 2020 Heartland Challenge will fund entrepreneurship support organizations to pilot solutions for specific challenges faced by entrepreneurs in four states—Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas.
The newly launched grant program will seek to fund projects focused on one of the following challenges:
Challenge 1: Co-creating objective, milestone-based entrepreneurship training programs to mitigate the impact of implicit bias faced by entrepreneurs from communities systemically left behind.
Challenge 2: Addressing rural business transfer opportunities by providing education on models of shared business ownership, including business cooperatives.
Challenge 3: Building cross-university programs that increase knowledge related to securing research and development funding, and commercializing available technology in order to start new businesses.
In addition to the funding, awarded organizations will participate in a regional community of practice intended to build stronger networks, share best practices and advance the work of supporting entrepreneurs across the region. Organizations that are not funded through this RFP, but interested in these initiatives, are invited to apply to participate in the regional community of practice.
Applicants may request funding up to $100,000 over 12 months. Award amounts will vary for individual projects but the average grant size is expected to be around $75,000. The initiative will give out up to $1.5 million in funding in total.
The application process will consist of two-stages. The first is a preliminary application and the second is a full proposal. Applications are now open and are due by March 9.
As part of the launch, Kauffman will be holding a Facebook Live session on Friday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. for any interested applicants.