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Top of Mind's 5 Must-Read Articles in Entrepreneurship

Thom Ruhe

Having had my home city represent the bottom of its fair share of "Worst" lists (Hey there, Cleveland!), I meet the ever-popular lists and rankings with a healthy dose of skepticism. All certainly are not created equal and all do not have the best of intentions.

I prefer lists with the goal of encouragement and education, rather than berating or belittling. The encouragement can come from being at both the top and bottom of lists--I know this from experience. It was Northeast Ohio's entrepreneurial environment landing dead last not once, but 12 years in a row by Entrepreneur magazine that helped spark the need for JumpStart, a nascent non-profit I worked at before Kauffman that supports entrepreneurs and that, I believe, was a seed for growing what is now an entrepreneurial ecosystem being looked to nationally for replicable ideas. And the Kauffman Foundation's research, which is contributing to a more in-depth understanding of what drives innovation and economic growth in an entrepreneurial world, with the goal of actionable education, is often best served in list format.

A list or ranking is only as valuable as the quality of its research and the correlation of that research to the graded characteristic the list maker is pushing. For me, one such list made my own list (you have to appreciate the humor here) of the five must read articles in entrepreneurship. It was a study by the Brookings Institution that took the 50 largest cities in the US and looked at the difference between the 95th percentile and 20th percentile income. For the Kauffman Foundation, this is valuable information that can be used in tandem with our own entrepreneurial focused research. Are these the cities in which the foundation should focus its efforts? Are these the cities where empowering those in the 20th percentile and below to think like entrepreneurs, might help tighten the gap? The article certainly got me thinking.

Are these lists that are churned out every day worth the read? Join the conversation, share your favorite (or least favorite) using #TopOfMind.

These Are The 10 Most Unequal Cities In America - February 25, 2014

The Brookings Institution took the 50 largest cities in the US and looked at the difference between 95th percentile and 20th percentile income. Atlanta came out the worst with a ratio of 18.1. The 95th percentile has an average income of $279,827, while the 20th percentile’s average income is $14,850. That is a large gap. The other cities with the highest inequality include: San Francisco, CA; Miami, FL; Boston, MA; Washington, DC; New York, NY; Oakland, CA; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; and Baltimore; MD.

Lawmakers Must Understand Philanthropy to Make Better Policy Choices - February 24, 2014

The most compelling information found was that a Philanthropy Awareness Initiative study found that more than half of “engaged Americans” could not name a single foundation on the first try, and fewer than one in six could cite an example of how a foundation had affected his or her community. The overarching thought in this article is that policymakers need to understand philanthropies better. Every dollar a foundation spends generates more than $8 in economic/local benefits. Foundations need to do a better job communicating with policymakers.

Business Schools Should be Transformed to Drive Entrepreneurism - February 24, 2014

In order for entrepreneurship to be driven in the classroom, there must be a curriculum created by business schools that can be delivered to all disciplines. Business schools should create an integrated unit as well (magnet model) that supports experiential learning. It is imperative that academic institutions have networks with each other as well institutions outside of academia. Finally, there must be ties with industry in order to plant seeds and potentially create spin-off activity.

Do accelerators help startups? Here’s what we found - February 24, 2014

The value of accelerators was determined by their exit value in this study. Accelerator results can be measured 4 years after a company graduates from an accelerator. The results that can be seen from accelerators are realized gains/losses, unrealized gains/losses. These results were found via press,, Dropbox, AirBnb. Accelerators can be evaluated by the need that it is filling for the startup.

Wichita State trying to lure technology companies - February 25, 2014

Wichita State is working with technology companies to create an innovation campus. This would add hundreds of jobs to this area. Gov. Sam Brownback is proposing that Legislature spend $2 million on this campus.   

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