I met Ted in Netherlands where I was participating in Meet the Dragons event. Where there were startups from 8 different European countries who were presenting in front of panel of investors, very nicely termed as Dragons. The event was built on the concept of the popular UK TV show Dragon’s Den. Ted was not a Dragon, Ted-Zoller-Sbut he was representing Kauffman Foundation‘s sponsoring the Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2011.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, the Kauffman Foundation is among the thirty largest foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion.

Our vision is to foster “a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities.” In service of this vision, and in keeping with our founder’s wishes, we focus our grant making and operations on two areas: advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth. We carry out our mission through four programmatic areas: Entrepreneurship, Advancing Innovation, Education, and Research and Policy.

For those of you who don’t know about Kauffman Foundation here is short video about the Foundation:

Ted Zoller is president of Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation and vice president of entrepreneurship at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He is the founding instructor of the “Launching the Venture” course at the Kenan Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is on the faculty.

As a practicing entrepreneur and an experienced educator, Zoller collaborates with Foundation leaders to advance entrepreneurial activity. At Kauffman Labs, a program of the Kauffman Foundation, he leads major initiatives designed to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Kauffman Labs experiments with new ways to launch high-growth businesses and subsequently expand local, regional and national economies. The Foundation continually works to advance entrepreneurship education and training efforts, to promote entrepreneurship friendly policies, and to better facilitate the commercialization of new technologies by entrepreneurs and others, all of which have great promise for improving U.S. economic welfare.

Zoller concentrates largely on the formation of new companies. In his classes, he teaches students the fundamentals of dreaming up, designing and developing business models for new ventures. As part of Zoller’s “Launching the Venture” course, students actually start ventures that contribute to their field and their community. Students from across the university, including UNC scientists, with ideas for new ventures learn how to write business plans. They also mix with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and other experts with the skills to make things happen.
Program participants have launched a wide range of new ventures. These range from leading-edge business ventures to transformative social ventures. Zoller cites the example of Asklepios, a firm that’s the brain child of the director of the UNC Gene Therapy Center. The new firm is now developing the only known therapy for a type of muscular dystrophy.

Ted is a speaker, and he is doing some interesting work on how Entrepreneurial Ecosystems thrive. Check out his talk in Stanford University. Ted has become a friend, he is a leader and really wants to understand how he can help in promoting Entrepreneurship. I am excited to see him come to Iceland and share his wisdom and experience.