Since its inception in 2006, Pipeline president and CEO Joni Cobb says the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has been a supporter and “intellectual partner” of the entrepreneurial leadership organization.
Now that relationship is growing even stronger. The Foundation announced Thursday morning that it will provide another three-year challenge grant of up to $1.435 million to Pipeline to help extend and improve its programming.
“We have a lot of entrepreneurs who have been through the fellowship year but want and need assistance as they start to grow,” Cobb told SPN. “This grant will both continue the regional fellowship we provide, but also add programming specifically for our long-term members.”
The Kauffman Foundation previously awarded Pipeline a challenge grant, which comes to an end this summer. Like the previous one, the new grant will be matched dollar for dollar by members of the community and the private sector, including a number of the program’s alumni.
“From my perspective as a member of the charter class, it’s an easy decision for me and several others to be a part of that matching grant because we’ve seen the program evolve into something so beneficial for the community,” SoftVu president and CEO Tim Donnelly told SPN. “Its really inspired us to spread the values and benefits we received from this ecosystem to other partners in our community.”
One of the initiatives made possible by the first Kauffman challenge grant was Pipeline’s regional expansion throughout Kansas, Nebraska and parts of Missouri.
“We’re excited about how excited our new partners were about [Pipeline’s] expansion and how passionate our long-term members were about expansion,” Cobb said of the organization’s initial growth.
As it enters into the second challenge grant cycle, expansion is something Pipeline remains interested in, and Cobb says the organization will work hard to find partners in other geographic areas committed to spreading Pipeline’s mission.
“It’s easy for us to be a part of it from a charter class perspective, to get out the checkbooks and help sustain this model we created,” Donnelly said. “It’s really another thing to go out and evangelize this great group in our own backyard.”
One of the group’s strongest missions will continue to be providing programming and resources for Pipeline’s past and future classes of entrepreneurs. Cobb says that through the funding the Kauffman challenge grant will provide, Pipeline will be able to expand on the ways its network of entrepreneurs can work together and grow.
“The newbies that come in surprise us with how smart and innovative they are,” Xenometrics president Alfred Botchway added. “They continue to raise the bar for us old guys.”
Credits: Video courtesy of Pipeline.