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NSF Funding

UMD Dean Olaf Kuhlke photo of Arviat for Hudson Bay
August 28, 2018

CLA Associate Dean Olaf Kuhlke has been funded by the NSF for research on Arctic cultural entrepreneurship.

UMD College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean Dr. Olaf Kuhlke has been funded by the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Social Sciences Division as principal investigator on a collaborative U.S./Canadian social scientific grant.

Kuhlke’s collaborators include Patrick Kane, director of the Alaska Venture Capital Association; Dr. Timothy Pasch, associate professor of Communication at the University of North Dakota; and multiple team members in Nunavut, Canada, and throughout Alaska. Funding for the initiative entitled Developing and Testing an Incubator for Digital Entrepreneurship in Remote Communities, totals over 300,000 USD (with $139,721 going to UMD).

UMD Dean Olaf Kuhlke and Creative Start Up team

Six of the seven Creative Startups Duluth Team Members: (back row: l-r) Chaquana McEntyre, Olaf Kuhlke, Lars Kuehnow, LeAnn Littlewolf, (front row: l-r) Chalsey Snyder and Kami Norland.

UMD’s College of Liberal Arts is home to the nation’s only undergraduate program in Cultural Entrepreneurship, which Kuhlke helped launch. The program trains students to become entrepreneurs in the creative and cultural industries. Recently, the program partnered with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to bring Creative Startups, a business accelerator program from Santa Fe, N.M., to the Duluth community and student population.

Kuhlke has also trained faculty members and community leaders in Agadir, Morocco, on implementing strategies for growing creative entrepreneurship in urban and rural areas.

UMD Dr. Kuhlke at the University of Ibn Zohr, Agadir, Morocco

Dr. Kuhlke at the University of Ibn Zohr, Agadir, Morocco, where he trained scholars and community leaders.

Kuhlke’s arctic research will use insights from programming with Creative Startups in Duluth and the Moroccan partners in Agadir, and take them to Noorvik, Alaska, and Arviat, Nunavut, to work with the local populations on implementing strategies and programs to boost entrepreneurship in remote communities.

Collaborator Pat Kane will set up a venture capital fund in collaboration with UMD and UND, and facilitate investments in Arctic communities like Noorvik and Arviat.

The final goal of the project is to develop a replicable entrepreneurship education approach for small communities that is paired with funding opportunities through venture capital funds. Fieldwork for this research will commence in 2019, and continue throughout the calendar year.

Learn more about UMD's Cultural Entrepreneurship program