Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building Knowledge for 2021

As we all know, it takes a village to build a startup, and one of the benefits of that village is the sharing of knowledge. With the fast-growing body of research and information about entrepreneurship economic development, it’s impossible to become an expert in everything in our space. As you prepare your plans for supporting entrepreneurs this coming year, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to add some of these great reads to your 2021 reading list.

From the SourceLink Network

Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities: A Pathway to Prosperity by Don Macke, Deb Markley and John Fulwider

Investing in the entrepreneurial community can benefit an entire city or town, making both the entrepreneur and the community they live and work in more prosperous. Don, Deb, and John lay out the case for investment in the entrepreneurial community while offering specific instruction on how to create structures and support systems for entrepreneurs.

Don Macke is Vice President of E2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, formerly Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, a partner of Network Kansas, a SourceLink affiliate. Deborah Markley is the senior vice president of LOCUS Impact Investing, a national non-profit organization supporting business, social and civic entrepreneurs. Deborah was a co-founder of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship.  John Fulwider is a leadership development consultant and executive coach.


Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook by The Kauffman Foundation

The Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook is a step-by-step guide to building a robust support community for entrepreneurs. It defines the roles of both entrepreneurs and those in the community surrounding them and outlines the steps communities and support organizations need to take to provide the environment necessary for entrepreneurial success.

This playbook was created as a part of the annual Eship Summit in 2017. The exciting part about this book is how it was collaboratively developed with input from many of our SourceLink network leaders, as well as entrepreneurship ecosystem builders from all across the country, culminating into this easy to digest book packed with insights for how we do this important work.

Field Building: Your Blueprint for Creating an Effective and Powerful Social Movement by Catherine Marshall

Catherine Marshall’s Field Building is a step-by-step guide to creating and sustaining a social movement. From determining if a field movement is the best answer to the challenge of developing an infrastructure to ensure work gets done, Field Building offers practical answers and real-life examples to help get a social movement off the ground. Catherine Marshall is the Executive Director of Microenterprise Collaborative, and recently collaborated with SourceLink to launch Inland SoCal SourceLink and publish the Creating Meaningful Jobs Report.


Beyond Collisions: How to Build Your Entrepreneurial Infrastructure by Maria Meyers and Kate Hodel

In many cities, the infrastructure to attract traditional economic development has long been in place, but attracting entrepreneurs leaves many local leaders scratching their heads. In Beyond Collisions, Maria Meyers and Kate Hodel create a roadmap for civic leaders to create the same type of economic development infrastructure to help attract and support the entrepreneurial community.

Combining their many decades of experience and passion for helping entrepreneurial support organizations, Kate and Maria share why it’s important to care about entrepreneurs, the steps to take in building an entrepreneurial infrastructure, insights gained about marketing, funding, leadership and more. Maria Meyers is the founder and Executive Director of SourceLink, and Kate Hodel is one of our Senior Project Directors. You can also pickup a free chapter on entrepreneurship ecosystem measurement here.

And an entertaining bonus read comes from Tom Hall, director of the <ahref=”https:>Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network, one of our SourceLink communities. Although not necessarily entrepreneurship related, we wanted to mention this fascinating book as well: Shipwrecks of Massachusetts Bay.</ahref=”https:>


From SourceLink Friends, Mentors, and Thought Leaders

Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities by Andre M. Perry

This recommendation came from multiple leaders in our SourceLink network during one of our Quarterly Conversations. In Know Your Price, Andre Perry argues that property in majority-Black cities is often unfairly undervalued. Perry takes readers on a tour of six majority-Black cities to point out the deficits in valuation and the consequences of those deficits. He rejects the valuation methods built on flawed perspectives and systemic racism and offers a new method for determining property values in Black communities that takes into account the inherent strengths of Black communities and their traditional institutions.

Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown

Adrienne Maree Brown’s book introduces readers to the idea of emergent strategy – a “strategy for building complex patterns and systems of change through relatively small interactions.” The ideas she presents help readers to create a strategy for dealing with change by teaching them how to map and assess the patterns of the world, our bodies and our brains to help readers better shape the events that shape them.

The Startup Community Way: Evolving an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem by Brad Feld and Ian Hathaway

In The Startup Community Way, authors Brad Feld and Ian Hathaway take a close look at what makes startup communities thrive and ways to improve collaboration within those communities. The authors argue that the top-down model of a startup community is flawed and that the true value of that community comes when people, organizations and resources interact, a bottom-up process. Knowing this, members of startup communities need to reorient their perspective to a whole-system view instead of simply focusing on their individual parts.

Strategic Doing: Ten Skills for Agile Leadership by Edward Morrison, Scott Hutcheson, et al.
The challenges facing our world today can’t be solved alone. They require large-scale collaborations with all of their complexity. In Strategic Doing, the authors lay out simple rules for designing complex collaborations that will ultimately lead to success. Some of our SourceLink affiliates are incorporating these lessons into their convenings with resource partners.

We Are All Starters: A Manifesto to Renew Ourselves and Our Nation by Victor Hwang

Victor Hwang’s book We Are All Starters is a manifesto for anyone who has ever thought about becoming an entrepreneur. Hwang argues that the Right to Start is a fundamental right implied in the original idea of America. His manifesto calls for changes that will empower all people to exercise that right. He lays out specific steps to creating a new civic infrastructure that breaks down barriers and builds resources to help people on the path to entrepreneurial success. Victor Hwang is the Former VP of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, and currently serves as Founder and CEO of Right to Start. Kauffman is a founding partner of SourceLink, and Victor a champion of our work and many of our affiliated networks and partners.

Black Women Business Startups by Dell Gines

In 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City conducted five focus groups with 34 Black women business owners to identify shared characteristics and how the entrepreneurial ecosystem could better support these business owners. The results are pulled together and analyzed in this report that outlines the challenges Black women business owners face and how those challenges can be addressed within the entrepreneurial support community.

Knowledge is power and we hope these great reads help to inspire you this coming year to expand your good work. Feel free to also drop us a line with your favorite book and we will add it to this list.

Please note: although we are in some cases providing many Amazon links to these books for reference, we strongly encourage you to go out and buy these from your favorite local retailer.