Ken Zolot defining a new world order: Lab for startups

March 24, 2009

Ken is a dear friend, and as strong an advocate and supporter of startups as one can find around here. And not to miss, he has had an amazing training at MIT where he led several initiatives in entrepreneurship and startup development.

Here’s an article he wrote in Xconomy about his new role with the Kauffman Foundation:

A New World Order for High-Growth Firms

Ken Zolot 3/24/09

Many of my friends and neighbors may have noticed that I haven’t been in town as much lately, and that I’m spending more and more of my time in Kansas City. So why would a hardened MIT denizen who used to think that distant travel meant going to Porter Square now be flying back and forth to Missouri every week?

It’s because the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which is headquartered in Kansas City, is pioneering new ways to advance our entrepreneurial economy. Kauffman’s president Carl Schramm inspired me the other day when he noted in a CNBC interview that all net job creation over the past thirty years has come from companies less than five years old. So what can we do to keep startups flourishing? I am delighted to be joining the Kauffman Foundation team as a senior fellow as we look out over the economic future and embark on a new approach for increasing both the number of new companies formed and the chances of success for these ventures.

This new initiative is called Kauffman Laboratories for Enterprise Creation. The mission of Kauffman Labs is to create more large-scale, high-growth firms. As someone with a combination of practical experience building companies, and academic experience teaching innovation and entrepreneurship at MIT—not to mention a passion for helping people build great companies—I’m very pleased to be a part of this initiative. It’s a perfect way to continue the work I started at MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. Read the rest of this entry »