The Coleman Foundation's definition of Entrepreneurship as coined by John E. Hughes -- "Self-employment through business ownership which has significant elements of risk, control and reward."
Business ownership and the creation of for-profit business ventures are central to the Coleman Foundation definition of entrepreneurship. This perspective inherently involves accepting and managing risk, exercising significant personal control and contains the potential for personal reward. It is a narrower perspective than free enterprise and does not focus on intrapreneurship or social entrepreneurship. The Foundation believes that the principles of self-determination, independence and individual initiative are characteristics essential to the development of entrepreneurs and their pursuit of self-employment. It promotes entrepreneurship as a career option and field of study for individuals of all ages and strives to improve the relevance impact of entrepreneurship education programs.
As an initial strategy in 1981, the Foundation established a series of Coleman Chairs and Professorships in Entrepreneurship at various colleges and universities. The goal was to promote and further legitimize the field to academia. Two decades of seed and program grants followed to further promote and develop the field. The grantmaking focus spread from awareness to fostering experiential activity, that would allow nascent entrepreneurs the opportunity to practice and develop skills needed to succeed.
The Foundation has recently established a more focused impact framework for grantmaking in its entrepreneurship program area. The Entrepreneurship Education Impact Plan has curricular and co-curricular components. Within the curriculum, strategies aim to foster development of core skills and the promotion of entrepreneurship as interdisciplinary learning. The Plan also seeks to improve the quality and quantity of experiential activities across disciplines that develop applied knowledge and experiences in self-employment. Potential grantees should look to this Entrepreneurship Impact Plan for the type of strategies the Foundation is looking to fund. The Foundation has also been promoting the concept of a Pathway for entrepreneurship exploration and education.