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Uncommon Methods & Metrics

Uncommon Methods & Metrics

Uncommon Methods and Metrics RFP Facebook Live discussion

Watch this discussion of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's Uncommon Methods and Metrics RFP, hosted by Program Officer Evan Absher on Facebook, as he details the request for proposals, and questions from viewers are answered live.

           

Uncommon Methods & Metrics
Opens June 15th, 2017 | Closes July 11th, 2017 11:59PM

This Request for Proposals is seeking novel and innovative methods or tools to collect timely primary data on entrepreneurial ecosystems. These data collection tools should capture either metrics traditionally identified as economic indicators (e.g., business starts, capital, revenue, valuation, etc.) or noneconomic indicators (e.g. social networks, shared perception of vibrancy, etc.) of entrepreneurial ecosystems in one of the following categories:
  • Cultural norms
  • Social capital
  • Human capital
  • Peer mentoring systems
  • Policy and governance
  • Scope and/or strength of communities of practice
Proposals should measure at least one of the categories listed above, but may suggest additional indicators germane to measuring entrepreneurial ecosystems.
 
In addition, each proposal must present a data collection method that is scalable across a large number of communities, once fully developed.
 
Finally, successful proposals must be willing to connect or align with the Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Indexes, as we are attempting to link large representative datasets with granular and timely datasets that measure specific regions or aspects of entrepreneurship. 
 
Why We Need New Methods to Measure Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Entrepreneurship is in a long-term decline that has prevented millions of Americans from achieving economic success. The Kauffman Foundation’s Zero Barriers movement seeks to identify large and small barriers to new business creation to reverse this downward trend.
 
The community in which an entrepreneur lives and starts a venture has a significant impact on the venture’s likelihood of the success or failure — and whether or not an entrepreneur will even begin a firm.
 
The Kauffman Foundation seeks to better understand how the entrepreneurial ecosystem impacts the individual entrepreneur. In particular, we are interested in how intangible connections and traditionally noneconomic factors affect the basic function of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
 
If the basic function of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is to efficiently move resources from those who have them to those who need them, it becomes imperative to understand what the resources are and how they are transferred.
 
Resources can include knowledge and access, along with more traditional financial support. The Foundation’s past research indicates that accessing non-financial resources through a highly connected network of mentors and peers is critical for entrepreneurial success.
 
In addition, the presence of key social factors like connectivity, trust, cohesion and other similar characteristics improves the capacity of an ecosystem to transfer resources from those who have them to those who need them.
 
Yet measuring many of these key aspects of entrepreneurial ecosystems has proven to be a considerable challenge. Collecting rigorous and timely data on key non-financial aspects of entrepreneurial ecosystems is the first step toward crafting more effective interventions that can meaningfully improve them.
 
Criteria for Proposals
Proposals will be judged based on three criteria: the extent to which addresses a need, is scalable and is novel.
 
Addresses a Need
Does the proposal measure a distinct gap within the current landscape of research or evaluation in the following categories?
  • Cultural norms
  • Social capital
  • Human capital
  • Peer mentoring systems
  • Policy and governance
  • Scope and/or strength of communities of practice
 
Further, the proposal should address needs in an actionable manner. While the RFP process will be discussed in greater detail below, the successful proposal should be capable of being implemented in several communities and so must be based, in large part, on useful to the prospective user.
 
Scalability
Can the proposed tool be eventually scaled to cover multiple communities? The purpose of this criterion is to ensure that the proposed tools are capable of being used by several communities without the dependence on a gatekeeper or specialized knowledge.
 
Novelty
Does the proposal measure established metrics of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in a novel and innovative manner? Or, does the proposal seek to collect data on a new metric that is both rigorous and timely?

Iterative Grant Structure
Because this RFP seeks to develop and deploy new methods of gathering primary data, the structure of this grant program diverges from traditional grant programs. The relatively developmental nature of the RFP requires a rolling, iterative process that leverages a cohort of initiatives and individuals that bring diverse perspectives. The process is as follows:
 
First Convening of the Awardees and Thought Leaders
This convening will bring together a cohort of grant awardees and thought leaders to share insights, to share models and to discover similarities. In short, the awardees should seek to build a network with their cohort for the purpose of expanding the impact of each proposal.

First Year Execution
The awardees will execute their projects according to the agreement with the Kauffman Foundation.

Second Convening of the Awardees and Thought Leaders
The second convening will update the cohort on the progress of each project. Awardees will have the opportunity to receive feedback and give input in equal measure.
A small committee will evaluate each project to determine if individual projects are ready for various next stages that include, but may not be limited to: expand, adjust or pivot to another direction; merge; redesign; deploy in additional communities.

Second Year Execution
Either the individual projects will continue forth on the previous agreement, or the project will begin operation on a larger scale.

Third Convening of Awardees and Thought Leaders
For the third convening, update the cohort on the progress of each project. Provide the opportunity for each project to receive feedback and give input in equal measure.
A small committee will evaluate each project to determine if individual projects are ready for various next stages that include, but may not be limited to: expand, adjust or pivot to another direction; merge; redesign; deploy in additional communities.

Third Year Execution
Either the individual projects will continue forth on the previous agreement, or the project will begin operation a larger scale.

Final Convening of Awardees and Thought Leaders
During this convening, the cohort of awardees and thought leaders will meet to determine final success as outlined in the individual agreements and the larger strategy. The cohort will help outline the next steps, propose changes and help set the initiative for the next phase.
 
Application Deadline: 11:59 p.m. Central Time on July 11, 2017