SOURCE: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

September 15, 2010 13:05 ET

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Commits $500,000 to Astia to Advance Women's Participation in High-Growth Entrepreneurship

Funding to Leverage the Astia Doing It Right Program for Entrepreneurs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - September 15, 2010) -  Astia, a premier business accelerator that works with women-led start-ups, today announced it has received a $500,000 grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The grant represents a commitment from both organizations to strategically work together to advance the participation of women in high-growth entrepreneurship.

The Kauffman Foundation is the world's largest foundation promoting entrepreneurship. Its research, expertise and programs provide critical support to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

"Entrepreneurs are arguably the most important actors in our economy: the creators of new wealth and new jobs, the inventors of new products and services, and the revolutionizers of society and the economy," said Lesa Mitchell, vice president of advancing innovation at the Kauffman Foundation. "Our commitment to Astia is to ensure that women are encouraged to participate in entrepreneurial endeavors and given the tools to succeed, which is essential to our national economy."

While data show that women start more than 50 percent of all businesses, their participation in high-growth start-ups -- companies that often require outside investment to succeed -- remains extremely low. In 2009 less than 10 percent of venture capital, the primary source of capital for these types of start-ups, was invested in companies with a woman CEO or founder, according to Dow Jones Venture Source. Astia's commitment to supporting diverse founding teams as well as building an inclusive community of experts strongly aligns with the Kauffman Foundation's commitment to advancing women's participation in business, particularly in the technology and life science sectors. 

"Few foundations are as far-sighted as the Kauffman Foundation has been about investing philanthropic funds in entrepreneurship and pursuing research on the innovation economy. The Foundation has been a pioneer in the space of women's participation in entrepreneurship, and its research has provided critical insights into the work we do at Astia," said Sharon Vosmek, chief executive officer at Astia. "Women are a resource that -- if tapped for their existing educational, professional and innovative backgrounds and capabilities -- has the ability to dramatically improve the state of the American and Global economies, now and long into the future. The Kauffman Foundation's commitment to Astia gives us the opportunity to dramatically increase our reach and impact."

Funding from the Foundation will be used to increase the reach of the Astia Doing It Right program for entrepreneurs. Doing It Right is a comprehensive program -- designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs - that begins with six-days of panels and workshops conducted by serial entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts, followed by two months of personalized advice from industry experts. Participant companies are then invited to join the Astia community for the full life of the company, during which time they can continue to access the expert advice and networks. Currently Doing It Right is offered in Silicon Valley, New York, London and Bangalore. Applications are now being accepted for the Silicon Valley program that will take place the week of November 1 - 6, 2010.

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. In addition, the Foundation focuses on initiatives in the Kansas City region to advance students' math and science skills, and improve the educational achievement of urban students, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, a college preparatory charter school for middle and high school students set to open in 2011. 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.

About Astia
Astia is a global not-for-profit organization with a distinct focus and mission -- to propel women's full participation as entrepreneurs and leaders in high-growth businesses, fueling innovation and driving economic growth. Guided by a proven philosophy that gender diversity is an essential element of innovation, Astia works with start-ups around the world as they access capital, grow their businesses, and hone the leadership skills of their founding teams.

The Astia model of engaging a community of experts to the benefit of the select start-ups it serves has resulted in an exceptional success rate: since 2003, over 60 percent of companies that have participated in the Astia Investor Forums have secured funding or achieved an exit within one year of presenting, totalling more than $750 million dollars raised and 20 exits, including two IPOs. Headquartered in San Francisco, Astia delivers programs for entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, New York, London and India. Astia has also had significant press coverage in major media channels including The New York Times, Businessweek, Forbes and The Financial Times. For more information, visit www.astia.org.

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