Chapel Hill, N.C. – Entrepreneurship in the United States is booming, with 30.2 million small businesses employing 58.9 million people in 2018. Unprecedented numbers of women, minorities and immigrants are starting their own businesses. Millennials and Gen Xers are catching up to baby boomers in startup activity.
Yet challenges remain. Venture capital funding is still concentrated in a handful of geographic areas. Women- and minority-owned businesses continue to lag in funding and other opportunities. And after a dip of several years, entrepreneurial failure rates are once again on the rise.
On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, top researchers and thought leaders will convene at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL, to discuss these trends and others affecting entrepreneurs. The third annual invitation-only Frontiers of Entrepreneurship conference, hosted by the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and its affiliated Entrepreneurship Center, will gather a highly curated group of 150 leaders from academia, industry and government to discuss leading-edge research on private business ventures and explore ways to sustain and advance entrepreneurship.
The conference will feature such experts as Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, national board chair for the American Red Cross; Kathleen Eisenhardt, co-director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at Stanford University; Chad Womack, national director of STEM initiatives for the United Negro College Fund; and Leora Klapper, lead economist for The World Bank’s Development Research Group.
“The goal of this conference is to explore the current challenges to entrepreneurial ecosystems and determine the direction of future research in the field,” said Greg Brown, director of the Kenan Institute. “It brings together top researchers, policymakers and practitioners for a multidiscipline approach to fostering entrepreneurship in the U.S. and beyond.”
The conference will incorporate plenary and breakout sessions on addressing barriers to entrepreneurship, the characteristics of successful founding teams, the changing landscape of growth funding and more. This year’s event will also feature research by the recipients of the 2018 conference’s small grants program.