Who We Serve

The foundation offers a diverse portfolio of synergistic programs and tools to help entrepreneurs accelerate their growth trajectory — and enable communities to create the kind of supportive culture entrepreneurs need to flourish.

We distribute our programs through entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) that are interested in serving second-stage businesses and devoted to growing their economies from the inside out, a philosophy often referred to as economic gardening. Working through ESO networks enables us to be more efficient with our resources and still directly impact entrepreneurs.

  • ESOs

    Affectionately known to us as the entrepreneurs’ entrepreneurs, Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) shape the very infrastructure in which entrepreneurs operate. The foundation’s primary audience, these organizations drive policy, provide critical connections, services, and help shape a region’s entrepreneurial culture. The foundation has worked with ESOs for more than a decade to distribute our programs for second-stage entrepreneurs. Together, we are making fundamental changes in traditional economic development.

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  • Second Stage

    Unlike startups, second-stage companies are no longer concerned about survival. And in contrast to small businesses and lifestyle entrepreneurs, second-stagers are significant job creators and many have established national and global markets that bring outside dollars into their communities.

    Second stage is a critical time because these entrepreneurs face an entirely new set of challenges. What made them successful during startup won’t necessarily drive future growth. We’re continually innovating new programs and tools to help them scale.

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  • Peer Groups

    As one of the primary audiences for our programming, the peer groups we work with are typically associated with a larger membership organization. We speak the language of entrepreneurship and have probably learned as much as we have taught to the thousands of CEOs we have come in contact with. We continue to learn and pass on our key takeaways to keep your organization growing and prospering.

    Peer groups are for business professionals and we further define our interests as those that are in the second stage.

    Search for a peer group near you:

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  • Grants

    Unlike grantmaking foundations, the Edward Lowe Foundation seldom awards grants to individuals or organizations. It is an operating foundation whose mission emphasizes support services for groups of second-stage business owners and for other entrepreneurial support organizations rather than grants.

    The information provided below may help you with your continued search for funding.

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"As a general rule, business failure is a serious business. "
— Edward Lowe