Making Entrepreneurship Accessible in Rural America

5. Insights: Lessons Learned and Recommendations

Encourage and Reward Experimentation

Providing freedom to experiment.

Having leaders who gave people the freedom to experiment proved to be a key success factor in being able to build programs that were truly based on local needs.

These locations were able to more quickly stand up, test, and iterate their programs and offerings, increasing the speed at which they were able to engage local entrepreneurs and business owners and have an impact.


Entrepreneurship experience built credibility.

LaunchBoxes with full-time personnel who had entrepreneurial experience were often best positioned to understand the specific needs of local entrepreneurs and therefore able to more quickly identify gaps within their local entrepreneurial ecosystems. Specifically:

  • Their lived experience as an entrepreneur was critical in building credibility with the entrepreneurs they were hoping to serve.
  • They were often able to see potential risk areas, or missteps, for entrepreneurs because they had “been there, done that.”
  • They understood and were comfortable with moving forward based on the information at hand.

Read a special note from the Kauffman Foundation about the value of the Playbook.