The Coleman Foundation believes that empowering local entrepreneurs makes an impact in Chicago. Entrepreneurs are more successful when they learn specific skills and are connected to an ecosystem that supports them.


Program Purpose: To advance entrepreneurship in the Chicago Metro Area with an emphasis on low-and-moderate-income neighborhoods.


We support
entrepreneurs by

  • Building a network of nonprofit organizations that provide quality entrepreneurship education
  • Developing and enhancing the capacity of these organizations and their educational staffs
  • Collaborating with other funders to grow and expand Chicago’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Improving business owners’ ability to create and sustain ventures


Building a Thriving Business Community through Entrepreneurship Education

One of the strategies guiding The Coleman Foundation’s initial efforts to support entrepreneurs in low- and moderate-income Chicago neighborhoods is to increase the capacity of trusted, community-rooted entrepreneurship educational organizations.

Our Legacy of Impact

Initiate Entrepreneurship program with $27 million in grants, endowed Chairs, professorships and collaborative programming at 11 colleges and universities
Launch 20-year Entrepreneurship Awareness and Education series, including $6.1 million to 236 small campus and community-based programs
Advance Entrepreneurship Education on a national level through first of 25 grants to the US Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Launch Self-Employment in the Arts Conference and program to increase awareness and develop entrepreneurial skills among artists
Establish the Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship Fellows Program with $4.7 million to proliferate entrepreneurship education beyond business schools at 33 US colleges and universities
Create Entrepreneurship-In-Neighborhoods Program to support aspiring entrepreneurs in low and moderate income neighborhoods in Chicago with $3.8 million in grants through 2019