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Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

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Kauffman Firm Survey

The stability and evolution of the American economy depends on entrepreneurship that drives the creation of new businesses, jobs, and innovations. Yet launching and running a business can involve many challenges, and many efforts fail in their early years. These barriers to success threaten our nation's long-term prosperity in an increasingly competitive global economy.

The Kauffman Firm Survey aims to help new business owners overcome start-up challenges and build innovative, growing companies. Mathematica is conducting the study, sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, to help the foundation with its mission to promote new business development. The sampled population is businesses that started operations in 2004, selected from the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation database.

Mathematica designed the survey questionnaire to focus on how businesses obtain financing during their early years of development; these indicators can be tracked longitudinally through annual followups. Business principals answer a core set of questions each year about the characteristics of their business, employment, innovation and competitive advantage, staffing of business functions, financing of operations, and characteristics of the owner(s).

Mathematica surveyed the principals of roughly 5,000 businesses starting in 2005; these businesses were recontacted annually in 2006 to 2008. The survey uses a multi-mode design, including a web survey and computer-assisted telephone interviewing followup. Mathematica achieved a 43 percent response rate in the baseline survey, and the response rates to the first three follow-up surveys were 89, 82, and 78 percent, respectively. Four additional surveys are planned for 2009 to 2012.


"Kauffman Firm Survey: Third Follow-Up Methodology Report" (July 2009)
"An Overview of the Kauffman Firm Survey: Results from the 2004-2007 Data" (April 2009)
"Kauffman Firm Survey: Second Follow-Up Methodology Report" (October 2008)
"Kauffman Firm Survey: Data Overview" (April 2008)
"Kauffman Firm Survey: First Follow-Up Methodology Report" (April 2008)
"Kauffman Firm Survey: Results from the Baseline and First Follow-Up Surveys" (March 2008)
"Kauffman Firm Survey: Baseline Methodology Report" (October 2007, revised January 2008)

For a complete list of publications and presentations based on data from the Kauffman Firm Survey, click here.