Entrepreneurs have been at the center of our American story for centuries. Indeed, entrepreneurs have powered our economy, fueled job growth and introduced innovations that have contributed to the quality of life we enjoy today. In fact, you could say that the American Experience is built on the backs of entrepreneurs who took risks because they believed that in America, anyone from anywhere could bring the next big idea to life.

From the earliest days of the Case Foundation and our work in the digital divide, however, we have been keenly aware of the difference in access and opportunity that communities face in this country and around the world.

At the Case Foundation, we believe there is a powerful economic opportunity to seize, simply by taking steps to be intentional in sourcing and shining a spotlight on high growth and innovative startups from broader segments of society. By building on ramps to funding, networking and mentoring for all sectors of society, we can expand economic opportunities more broadly and tap markets that have been underserved.

We are committed to expanding our support to democratize entrepreneurship, through collaborations and learning opportunities with ecosystems and founders committed to reducing barriers to entrepreneurship faced by diverse entrepreneurs, and scale local pilots into national programs serving women and entrepreneurs of color. We envision a world where all entrepreneurs have an equal opportunity to succeed, no matter their race, gender, or geography.

Entrepreneurs will continue to drive the jobs and innovations necessary to grow economies, strengthen communities and solve intractable problems. The strongest and most resilient economies will be those that figure out how to create robust startup ecosystems in all parts and for all people of their country, including those that are currently under-represented. If we seize this opportunity to democratize entrepreneurship, we will not only support new innovators, we will strengthen innovation and redouble our commitment that anyone from anywhere has a fair shot at the American Dream.

#FacesofFounders

Join the movement to redefine who is and can be an entrepreneur.

America’s startup culture tells us that anyone can bring forward the next big idea. Yet, all too often women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color are left on the sidelines. It’s time to change the narrative of how we talk about entrepreneurs in American culture. It’s time to break down the stereotypes of who can be an entrepreneur and correct the outdated myths of what an entrepreneur can look like.

To address these barriers, the Case Foundation launched our first-ever #FacesofFounders campaign in the fall of 2016. The effort, a centerpiece of the Foundation’s inclusive entrepreneur movement, invited entrepreneurs — particularly women founders and entrepreneurs of color — to share their photos and stories of entrepreneurship on FacesofFounders.org or on Twitter using #FacesofFounders. Launched at the White House’s South by South Lawn festival, in partnership with Blackstone Charitable Foundation, Google for Entrepreneurs and UBS, along with Fast Company, #FacesofFounders seeks out and lifts up America’s dynamic entrepreneurs who are key to driving innovation and job growth. The winners of the crowdsourced contest, who were reviewed by our panel of forty guest judges, were selected because they are bridging innovation and commitment to inclusiveness. Learn more about the featured stories on Fast Company!

We celebrate the five winners in their own right, but also for the light they shine on the tremendous talent and excitement that the #FacesofFounders campaign surfaced. Nearly 4,000 people uploaded a photo and selected a filter showing what entrepreneurship means to them and nearly 750 founders took the time to thoughtfully and passionately tell us the story of their entrepreneurship journey — with entries from 42 states, 63 percent of whom were women entrepreneurs and 63 percent of whom were entrepreneurs of color. And entrepreneurs building businesses across a multitude of sectors — from retail, technology, arts, health and finance industries, among others.

Thank you to everyone who has joined the movement for a more inclusive approach to entrepreneurship! Founders like these are proof points that innovative, successful businesses are built across the nation, by entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. Together, we are changing the narrative of who is and can be an entrepreneur.

Myth of the Entrepreneur

Today, when you look at the most highly celebrated entrepreneurs—or look at how entrepreneurs are depicted in pop culture—it’s not exactly a picture of diversity. And typically the story of the entrepreneur casts main characters that appear to be singularly heroic, toiling away in garages and labs until, suddenly, a Eureka Moment! We believe this isn’t the reality faced by entrepreneurs, but rather how our culture is promoting a false vision of entrepreneurship. We must very intentionally examine, and change, the stories we tell.

We aim to help change this narrative by launching a new blog series called The Myth of the Entrepreneur. Through this series we will take a critical look at the common stories told in startup culture. It’s time to reboot and re-focus the narrative on entrepreneurship, and create a message of inspiration and aspiration grounded in inclusivity.

We hope you will join us on this journey—offer up your thoughts, inspiration and new era entrepreneurs you admire on Twitter using the hashtag #Ent4All.

Myths Posts

The Myth of the Entrepreneur

We're launching a new blog series that will take a critical look at the common stories and myths told in startup culture.

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The Myth of Isolation

The second in the Myth of the Entrepreneur series, examining and changing the stories our culture tells about entrepreneurs.

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The Myth of Combat

The third in the Myth of the Entrepreneur series, examining pitch competitions and how they can sometimes provide too narrow a view of entrepreneurship.

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The Myth of Failure

The fourth in the Myth of the Entrepreneur series, we look at failure and how to ensure all entrepreneurs can afford to succeed.

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The Myth of STEM; The Only Way

A guest blog post in our Myth of the Entrepreneur series, examining how entrepreneurship is fueled by more than just STEM.

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The Myth of the "E-Word"

The sixth in the Myth of the Entrepreneur series, we contemplate the term “entrepreneur” itself as a barrier to expanding and diversifying entrepreneurship.

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The Myth of the Coasts

The seventh in the Myth of the Entrepreneur series, we explore four reasons it’s actually a great time to be an entrepreneur from the Midwest.

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Featured Posts

Announcing the Five #FacesofFounders Featured Stories

Every day this week, one of the five winners will be featured in a sponsored profile on FastCompany.com.

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Behind the Scenes With the Judges of #FacesofFounders

A few of the #FacesofFounders judges share words of wisdom about the opportunities and challenges of being an entrepreneur.

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Biggest Trends in Social Good? Women in the Driver's Seat!

In 2017, we're committing to getting in the arena of investing in women with intention.

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Jean Case at TEDx MidAtlantic: Unlocking the American Dream

Watch Jean’s TEDx talk to learn about the realities for women and entrepreneurs of color today and how we can change them.

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Crisscrossing the Country to Lift Up Diverse Entrepreneurs

There's still time for you to add your photo and share your entrepreneurial story for a chance to be featured in Fast Company.

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Four Ways to Tip the Inclusive Entrepreneurship Movement

We need all individuals with breakthrough business ideas to have a seat at the table. How can we get there?

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