|UK's Department of Trade and Industry to Partner with Kauffman Fellows Program as Part of Growing Effort to Expand VC Leadership Training Globally|
The Kauffman Fellows Program, the only formal post-graduate venture capital education program in the world, announced today that it has formed a partnership with the United Kingdom's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to recruit British venture capital firms to sponsor Kauffman Fellows in 2006. This new partnership, part of an international pilot program, was announced today at the Kauffman Fellows' annual Affinity Conference at The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.
The Kauffman Fellows Program, based at the Center for Venture Education, orchestrates an intensive, two-year program of venture capital firm mentorship and formal courses to prepare outstanding technology professionals in business, technology and science for leadership roles among the latest generation of venture capitalists.
The goal of this partnership -- part of the Kauffman Fellowship's growing commitment to "internationalize" the venture capital process -- is to identify and select up to four fellows to work at British firms and help cross-fertilize the best practices of British and American venture capitalists. As part of this partnership, the DTI will fully fund these UK Fellowships.
Three-quarters of the 77 graduates of the decade-old Kauffman Fellows program are general partners at U.S. venture capital firms. A growing number of newer Fellows are working at European and Asian firms and are becoming partners there.
Patrick Von Bargen, CEO of the Kauffman Fellows Program, emphasized that a key Kauffman Fellowship objective is to expand globally the role the program has played in training U.S. venture capitalists, largely through a two-year "accelerated learning plan" at sponsoring venture capital firms.
"The Center has a tremendous opportunity to make a contribution not just to the venture capital industry but to worldwide economic growth itself," Von Bargen said. "Study after study has demonstrated the significant role entrepreneurs play in creating wealth and jobs, and venture capital is absolutely critical to their success. The Kauffman Fellowship is in an ideal position to help foster entrepreneurship worldwide, and this pilot with the DTI is a first and very effective step in this process. We're excited about the potential to mirror this pilot in various other key business regions worldwide, including the rest of Europe, Israel, Asia Pacific, Japan and the Far East."
According to Von Bargen, The United Kingdom, especially London, has embraced venture capital and the subsequent financing and creation of leading-edge technology and life sciences startups more aggressively than any other European nation. "Piloting this partnership program with the DTI made perfect sense in light of the UK's strategic importance to increased economic and business development throughout Europe," Von Bargen said.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville, the United Kingdom's Undersecretary of State for Science and Technology, said DTI will partner with the Center for Venture Education to pilot this program in Britain as part of the department's Knowledge Transfer Partnerships program, which itself is a world-class example of practical knowledge transfer. "We want to encourage better-informed risk-taking and greater openness to technology investment in the United Kingdom's venture capital community," said Lord Sainsbury. "Combining the best of U.S. and British venture experience is an ideal way to accomplish this."
Working collaboratively with the DTI, the Center for Venture Education will be actively involved in the recruitment of both British venture firms and British-based Kauffman Fellows. Throughout the 24-month fellowship, the Center will work closely with DTI, Kauffman Fellows, their venture firm mentors and university partners.
The Kauffman Fellows Affinity Conference is an annual conference attended by new Fellows and their mentors, as well as Kauffman Fellow alumni. Kauffman Fellows Class 10 begins this month. The class has 21 members, the largest ever. Five of the Fellows will serve at venture firms abroad, another record.
The curriculum of the Kauffman Fellows Program is based on a two-year accelerated learning plan that utilizes the venture environment as a learning laboratory. Participating venture firms designate one highly experienced mentor to guide the Fellow's learning. The program is supplemented with guidance from mentors in the industry, as well as external advisors and industry experts. In addition, the fellowship is augmented with specially designed "learning modules," such as the study of "the venture capital firm as a business" and "growing high-potential ventures."
About The Kauffman Fellows Program
Founded in 1994, the Kauffman Fellows Program is an educational program designed to educate, develop and network emerging leaders in venture capital and high-growth startups. In July 2002, the Program spun out from the Kauffman Foundation and created the Center for Venture Education, a non-profit, post-graduate educational institute. It has expanded its program nationally and internationally to fulfill its mission of enhancing the human investment in the venture capital process globally. For more information, visit www.kauffmanfellows.org.