Editor’s note: The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a financial supporter of Startland News.
Entrepreneurs need a steady hand now as the world is gripped by uncertainty, said Wendy Guillies, but challenges facing small businesses and emerging companies will remain long after COVID-19 runs its course.
Philip Gaskin — the newly promoted vice president of entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation — will be there to lead the charge, added Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation.
“Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a strong voice and advocate in Philip who prioritizes building stable economies across the city, state, and national levels,” Guillies said Tuesday morning in a message to partners and supporters. “Amidst our current health pandemic, Philip led his team to action, playing an instrumental part in ensuring some of our area’s most distressed businesses could access financial support through the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund.”
Click here to learn more about the KC COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Fund.
Gaskin was selected for the VP position after a months-long national search that followed Victor Hwang’s announced departure from the role. The nonpartisan organization’s new executive previously served as senior director of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, championing initiatives supporting the startup, growth, and success of emerging businesses in the Kansas City region and across the country.
“Over the last four years Philip Gaskin has served as an invaluable member of the Kauffman Foundation team,” Guillies said in a press release. “His commitment to Kansas City and to entrepreneurs across the country is exactly the leadership and dedication our communities need right now.”
As vice president of entrepreneurship, Gaskin is responsible for leading the Kauffman Foundation’s comprehensive entrepreneurship portfolio — including grantmaking, operating programs, convening, research, and policy. He is charged with leading the team of more than 30 associates and providing vision, strategic thinking, and thought leadership to scale and deepen the impact of the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurship strategy.
“The Kauffman Foundation was built on the core principle of exploring uncommon solutions so that everyone has the opportunity to learn, take risks, and own their success,” said Gaskin. “I am committed to carrying out that mission in my role, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and members of our community to continue to break down barriers and provide the resources and tools entrepreneurs need to start and grow a business.”
Click here to read a 2018 Startland News profile on Philip Gaskin.
Before joining the Kauffman Foundation, Gaskin held a number of private sector executive leadership roles — ranging from global travel tech firms to supporting social entrepreneurs and impact investors in building sustainable businesses that focus on social and environmental change.
Earlier in his career, he served as a political campaign director for various candidates, including U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, and President Barack Obama’s Pennsylvania Obama for America effort.