SOURCE: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

September 22, 2009 10:11 ET

Entrepreneurs' Gloom Contradicts Wall Street Optimism

Kauffman Foundation Poll of Entrepreneurs Suggests Economic Growth Engine Still in Low Gear; Nation's Primary Job Creators Say Government Should Do More

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - September 22, 2009) - The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced the results of a new survey of American entrepreneurs showing that entrepreneurs and small businesses continue to struggle despite increasing optimism on Wall Street. One week before Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the statement that the recession is "very likely over," two-thirds of entrepreneurs reported that the economy is heading in the wrong direction.

In the past year, more than one-third of the entrepreneurs surveyed have shed jobs while only five percent of entrepreneurs have added employees. A majority of entrepreneurs believe that the stimulus package has hurt entrepreneurial activity, and entrepreneurs want government to pursue a fundamentally different approach to encourage entrepreneurship.

"In America, entrepreneurial activity is a leading force in the health and growth of our economy," said Carl J. Schramm, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. "These results confirm that we've got a long way to go before we're in the clear."

Later this week the Kauffman Foundation will release details of a new initiative designed to enable entrepreneurs to have more influence on decisions that impact small business growth and job creation.

Kauffman Foundation studies have shown that entrepreneurs have historically been key drivers of economic recovery in past recessionary periods. Since 1980, companies less than five years old have accounted for virtually all net new job creation in the United States.

"Pessimism and revenue loss among entrepreneurs on the front lines of the economy indicate that the fruits of economic recovery have yet to hit Main Street," Schramm said.

Other key findings include:

--  69 percent of entrepreneurs believe the recession will last one to two
    years longer
    
--  75 percent think the United States cannot have a sustained economic
    recovery without another burst of entrepreneurial activity
    

Pollster Doug Schoen surveyed more than 250 entrepreneurs and 150 "would-be" entrepreneurs from Sept. 8 to Sept. 12, 2009. An entrepreneur was defined as someone who has started a business and is currently running it. A would-be entrepreneur was defined as someone who would like to start a business.

To view more findings, visit www.kauffman.org/EntrepreneurSurvey.

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. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. 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 @kauffmanfdn on Twitter.

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