Ewing Kauffman: a legacy of entrepreneurship and innovation

Considered one of the world’s largest organizations to support entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation’s success and purpose have their roots in the life story of its founder: Ewing Kauffman.

Born in 1916 on a farm in the state of Missouri, USA, Ewing Marion Kauffman’s passion for knowledge and his sense of self-management were present from an early age: at age 11, bedridden for a year because of heart issues, Ewing relied on books to keep himself alert and developing. His reading volume was impressives: he read up to 40 books in a single month.

Still young, Ewing participated in a group of Scouts and Navy. Along with his books – which he read in record time at 5,400 words a minute – his experiences contributed to nurturing his curiosity and deepening his knowledge of the world around him. Shortly after assuming the position of salesman in a pharmaceutical laboratory, his determination and effort caused him to get paid, just in sales commission, an amount higher than the own company’s president salary.

In 1950, at age 22, he steps up to write the chapter that would change his own life and the history of entrepreneurship in his country. With $ 5,000 in initial investment, he founded Marion Laboratories, which commercialized pharmaceutical products. With a focus on sales quality and training highly motivated professionals, in a short time Marion ceases to be a backyard company and is recognized for its innovative sales strategies. The laboratory philosophy was based on two basic assumptions: ‘share profits with those who produce’ and ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’.

Even with the exponential growth of Marion, which was considered the strongest company in the US pharmaceuticals business, Ewing’s entrepreneurial and tireless spirit drove him to explore other areas. He created the Kansas City Royals, a team responsible for bringing the main baseball championship back to Kansas in the 1960s, the same time he set up the Kauffman Foundation.

Among several initiatives, the foundation is recognized for promoting the same sense of opportunity as in Ewing’s endeavors by providing quality education and helping young people, especially those with low financial conditions, to reach their potential.

To learn more about the Kauffman Foundation and its areas of expertise, visit the institution’s website .

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