Pipeline Entrepreneurial Fellowship announced this morning that it has received a challenge grant of up to $2.087 million over four years from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation to support and enhance programming.
Pipeline is a fellowship organization supporting the region’s fastest growing entrepreneurs. Each year up to 13 entrepreneurs are selected for the Fellowship and, if completed, are invited to full membership as a Pipeline entrepreneur.
Since beginning in 2016, Pipeline has had a close relationship with the Kauffman Foundation. Their earlier grants enabled Pipeline to expand regionally and deepen programming for long-term, high-growth entrepreneur Members.
This newest grant will enable Pipeline to define its regional boundaries for the next four years and continue both the initial Fellowship and the ongoing Member programs. Currently, the regional boundaries are the states of Kansas and Nebraska, as well as the Kansas City and St. Louis metropolitan areas.
“At the Kauffman Foundation, we see entrepreneurial programs from all over the world, so it is especially gratifying to know that one of the very best grew up right here in our backyard,” said Wendy Guillies, President & CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “Pipeline is getting results and does so with a very unique model that supports our highest growth founders. We are proud to continue our strong support for the next four years.”
Over the next few months, Pipeline leadership will work with its entrepreneurs, national advisors, mentors, and regional partners to determine the regional boundaries and plans for the next four years, while simultaneously recruiting its newest class of Fellows.
“We are so grateful to have the strong backing of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as we continue to identify, train, and connect our region’s highest growth entrepreneurial superstars,” said Joni Cobb, Pipeline President and CEO. “It will be very exciting to see who joins our current ranks of partners as we execute over the next four, opportunity-filled years.”
Brad Roth, Executive Director of NUTech Ventures and Pipeline Network Advisor, said that Pipeline is a part of the stepwise progression of entrepreneurial companies in the Nebraska and regional ecosystem.
“It really provides comprehensive resources in mentoring for these companies and to help them scale and achieve high growth and it’s done in a customizable manner for each of the companies,” said Roth. “We’re really excited about this grant and the opportunity to see this program expand and be sustained in this way.”
Blake Lawrence, Founder, opendorse and Pipeline fellow, knows firsthand how the grant will benefit the region as well as individual entrepreneurs.
“Pipeline gives me the confidence to pursue my vision, the tools to get there faster, the network to fuel growth, and the family to support me along the way,” said Blake Lawrence, Founder, opendorse. “This grant enables us to keep Pipeline working for both the current Members as well as future Fellows.”
Pipeline Member firms have created $1.1B in revenue and over 1,600 jobs. They have raised over $400M in outside capital, with more than $100M in 2016 alone. More than 100 entrepreneurs have been through the Fellowship, and now 34 of them have already become serial entrepreneurs.
The challenge grant will be matched dollar-for-dollar with private sector participation, including matching from its own entrepreneurs.
Joe Hadzima, Senior Fellow, MIT has 8 years experience working with Pipeline. He’s spent time working around the world but for him, it all comes back to Pipeline.
“Being from the Boston/MIT entrepreneurial community, I meet countless U.S. and foreign organizations working to build a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem of their own and looking to us for guidance,” said Hadzima. “After working with Pipeline for over eight years, I can tell you what I tell everyone now—go talk to Pipeline. No matter how you measure impact and effectiveness Pipeline really delivers the goods.”