Our passion: supporting entrepreneurship by mapping, connecting and activating resources into thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems. We truly do believe that entrepreneurship has the power to change lives and the world.
And that’s why, over a decade into this work and a month after the Kauffman Foundation’s #ESHIPSummit, we’re still so very pumped by the communities we’ve helped, the methodologies and tools we’ve developed, the people we’ve met and the ideas we’ve learned about (and can’t wait to share).
If we’re going to rock this economy into twenty-first century and help people find economic empowerment and independence, then we’re have to create a sustainable entrepreneurial community that supports them. And we have to connect the people and organizations that are doing this important work, so that we can build better best practices.
That’s the fighting spirit we took in with us into the Kauffman Foundation’s #ESHIPSummit this past June—and our passion has only been stoked by that experience. The #ESHIPSummit brought hundreds of ecosystem players, doers and thinkers together to network, share and think through the future of entrepreneurship and ecosystem building. The attendees included everyone from influential leaders, nonprofits, economic developers, authors, systems thinkers and even city leaders.
We shared our own insights and takeaways from the #ESHIPSummit and now we’re keeping the momentum—and the conversations—going. Here are a collection of insights and perspectives from entrepreneurial developers all across this nation and growing community of entrepreneurship.
“It feels like we’ve reached a new phase in thinking about how we can help grow healthier entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. It’s world-changing work that requires collaboration with lots of people with very different experiences, skills and viewpoints.” – Eric Whitmore, SourceLink community from the City of Albuquerque
Cotton Candy Milk: What I Learned about Helping Startups While in Kansas City, Ryan Lilly, 07/2017, Ocala/Marion County Chamber & Economic Partnership
“As ecosystem builders, we’ve got to get out of the risk-avoidance and self-justification mindset and develop the traits of the entrepreneurs we’re trying to serve.”
10 Ways to Break Down Barriers for Entrepreneurs in Your Community, Sarah Morgan, 07/2017, NationSwell
NationSwell partnered with the Kauffman Foundation during the Summit to record the stories and passions of ecosystem builders.
“At a time when the doors of economic opportunity seem to be shutting out so many people, entrepreneurship is crucial to local neighborhoods.”
The Future of Entrepreneurship: An ESHIP Summit Recap, Adam Griffin, 06/2017, Galvanize
“It’s my personal belief that one of our biggest obligations as American citizens right now is extending opportunity into these communities, and blurring those have and have-not lines. Entrepreneurship is the most logical vehicle to do this.”
Building entrepreneurial ecosystems
Ten Insights on Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystem from the Kauffman Foundation’s ESHIP Summit, Jenn Gustetic, 06/2017, SBIR/STTR
“’Ecosystem builders’ represent a community of practitioners that have in many instances (with exceptions) been doing jobs in local silos without a coordinated professional network. They thirst for peers and there is obvious demand for a community of practice—leading to the recognition of an emergent profession that isn’t quite economic development and isn’t just community organizing.”
EshipSeries: Startup Ecosystems of the Future, Anika Horn, 06/2017, Co.Starters
“In an ideal ecosystem of the future, we teach an entrepreneurial mindset, that of a problem-solver, to everyone interested through cross-disciplinary and experiential learning.”
EshipSeries: Making and breaking startup ecosystems — An exercise in the arts and crafts, Anika Horn, 06/2017, Co.Starters
“To create an ecosystem of the future, the role of any actor in the network — from mentor to investor to entrepreneur him- or herself — is as important as that of the person connecting them all: the ecosystem builder.”
Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, Don Macke, Deb Markley, 06/2017
“At the Center we have long believed that entrepreneurship done intentionally not only creates a more diverse and successful economy, but builds communities of place and interest at the same time.”
ESHIPs in the Ocean: Inspirations from Kauffman’s Inaugural ESHIP Summit, Heather Stafford, 07/2017
“Amidst this engaging activity, every captain is secretly looking for someone to hand them over a blueprint on how to build the changes they have been looking for; but little do we know that WE are the change we’ve been looking for.”
Top Ten Things We Know about Growing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, Norris Krueger, 07/2017, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
“Don’t be Sauron. Ecosystems are NetworkS (plural). It appears impossible for a community to move forward under one big umbrella (research is clear that the ‘big tent’ is a mirage).”
A Collaborative Culture, Kerry Anderson, 07/2017, Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business
“The reality in this modern world of technology is that any community, no matter how big or small, has the capacity to develop an entrepreneur ecosystem if it can embrace a collaborative culture.”
E-Communities in the Driver’s Seat, Simone Elder, 07/2017, Network Kansas
“Ecosystem building starts with knowing your community’s unique culture and roots while engaging people along the way.”
Working as an ecosystem builder
EshipSeries: So you think you’re an ecosystem builder…, Anika Horn, 06/2017, Co.Starters
“…ecosystem building is not just another job. It is a calling, a passion, a keep-you-awake-at-night and fill-17-pages-with-notes-after-an-ecosystem-Summit kind of electricity that runs through your veins.”
EshipSeries: EShipSummit, or How to Run a Great Show, Anika Horn, 06/2017, Co.Starters
“We all are — at some point in our careers — in charge of organizing events. Make it an experience, leverage your artistic and creative community, ask yourself what type of format you would truly enjoy.”
EshipSeries: Eship Summit — A Lesson on Big Picture Thinking and Self-Reflectedness, Anika Horn, 06/2017, Co.Starters
“The answer to staying relevant is to make an effort to be informed and curious to learn, to adjust your course and study up on what’s happening outside your city to provide the best possible value to local entrepreneurs and the ecosystem at large.”
ESHIP Summit recap: Largest-ever meeting of ecosystem builders convenes to forge new economic model, Bobby Burch, Startland News, 06/2017
“At times regarded as a buzzword whose definition is as variable as a startup’s valuation, the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystems received stalwart validation last week when the largest gathering of leaders cultivating such communities met in Kansas City.”
5 Things the ESHIP Summit Got Really, Really Right: Changing Perceptions, Eric Whitmore, 06/2017, City of Albuquerque
“…how we choose to perceive the elements and structures we work with could shape how we and others work with them for decades to come.”
Lessons from the Kauffman Foundation 2017 ESHIP Summit: A Call Out to Ecosystem Builders, Chad Renando, 07/2017, Fire Station 101
“If we are not intentional about supporting all segments of humanity, then innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities will most benefit those who already have access, leaving entire segments of the community behind.”