Evidence-based assessment data from experts in entrepreneurial communities offer promising insights

Kansas City, Missouri • Denver, Colorado

Today the Valid Evaluation (Valid Eval) and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announce that they are collaborating on research to more accurately pinpoint paths to success for startups and small businesses.

The partnership will delve into research on Valid Eval’s multiple expert evaluations of more than 2,000 companies throughout the United States to try to understand the impact of structured feedback and evaluation in the entrepreneurship process. The Kauffman Foundation is a leading force in research and policy topics on entrepreneurship. The partnership is part of Kauffman’s Startup Data Initiative program, which is attempting to better understand how critical segments of entrepreneurship programs work, such as evaluation and feedback, and what can be done to improve specific aspects of entrepreneurial support delivery.

Valid Eval takes a unique approach to assessing entrepreneurs. It structures experts’ opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of entrepreneurs’ strategies using evidence-based frameworks known as rubrics. Valid Eval deploys its online assessment platform where experts already judge and critique startups and small businesses. For example, government grant programs, incubators, universities and Small Business Development Center training courses are current Valid Eval clients.

“Measuring what is happening within large numbers of entrepreneurial companies as they develop is notoriously difficult,” said E.J. Reedy, director of Research & Policy at the Kauffman Foundation. “Our team will look at Valid Eval’s standardization of the evaluation and development processes to better understand if such structured work is helpful to improving entrepreneurial outcomes.”

“We are honored to have the Kauffman Foundation’s research team assist Valid Eval in garnering greater value from our large and growing dataset,” said Valid Eval CEO Adam Rentschler. “I believe we have an opportunity to fundamentally improve how communities unlock economic growth for entrepreneurs. This project aims to find the ‘keys’ for that growth from within the data we have already captured.”

Terms of the partnership are not disclosed.

About Valid Evaluation

Founded in 2011, Valid Eval is an online evaluation system for organizations that make and defend tough decisions. It provides insight into the decision-making process, illuminating the details of evaluator assessments while reducing subjectivity and minimizing bias. Valid Eval surfaces and organizes the normally hidden criteria used in complex evaluations, which increases evaluator accountability and confidence in outcomes. It’s based on widely accepted principles of cognitive and behavioral science, and uses purpose-built rubrics — performance standards and scoring criteria — developed in consultation with experts in the field. Valid Eval synthesizes and contextualizes diverse responses from evaluators who have relevant expertise, providing clear, concise, credible feedback that people can easily prioritize and act upon.

About the Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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