SourceLink℠ Affiliate Quarterly Conversation – March 2023

Welcome to our newest affiliates!

Rob kicked off our recent SourceLink℠ Affiliate Quarterly Conversation welcoming our newest affiliates to the network. They include: Louisiana Business Hub launched March 15 and will be deployed regionally. Two regions are already included, Launch Network and Capital Region. Seven more regions will be added in the coming year. 

Fairfax County, VA will launch a SourceLink platform this spring. Louisiana Chamber Foundation is now using SourceLink℠ Pro to monitor grants and clients and the City of Chanhassen, MN is now using SourceLink Pro. Welcome Erie County, NY, part of the Nexus i90 expansion project and includes the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Buffalo State University partnering with the Amherst Chamber. Their site will launch in April. 

SourceLink is adding another island! The City and County of Honolulu, HI will be utilizing SourceLink Pro and hopes to expand to other SourceLink platforms in the coming year. 

Website changes within our network include IASourceLink, Network Kansas and Network Kansas ECommunity Partnership, Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) who have moved their websites from Sitefinity to WordPress. IASourceLink also created a business license navigator


Get Involved in Ecosystem Building Programs

The Ecosystem Building Leadership Project (EBLP), an initiative established in 2022, focuses on advancing ecosystem building as a practice. This initiative stems from the Kauffman Eship Summit work that included 1500 participants who seeded mini goals.  EBLP will aggregate information from the Eship Summits and be more intentional to professionalize our work as ecosystem builders.  A Provisional Council was elected and is in the early stages of synthesizing information and creating projects and will eventually transition into a more permanent entity. Dara serves on the Provisional Council and encourages affiliates to get involved by visiting the website to take a field survey, joining the online community, and signing up to receive updates on town hall meetings and other information. For more information email Dara, [email protected]


See you in San Juan!

Pola shared updates about our upcoming SourceLink Summit in San Juan, PR, April 24-26. We are thrilled that many affiliate organizations will be represented including: BizLink Orange, Colmena66, Evergreen BizLink, Fairfax (VA) CORE, Greater Baltimore Urban League, KCSourceLink, Louisiana BusinessHub, MicroEnterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California, MOSourceLink, Network Kansas, Nexus i90, NWI BizHub, Sparkyard, Start In Wisconsin and West Virginia BusinessLink

We have a full agenda with inspiring speakers in entrepreneurship and economic development and sessions on marketing, funding ecosystems and funding entrepreneurs, resource partner outreach and includes a lot of opportunities for networking. There are only a few spots left so contact Pola at [email protected] if you would like to attend. 


Why Focused Impact Reporting is Crucial

As Stephen Covey shares in his book, “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,” begin with the end in mind. By beginning with the end in mind, it forces us to focus and lends us to start thinking of strategies and tactics to achieve the types of reporting we need. We often just start with the “How”—how to use a certain report to get to specific data or we use massive spreadsheets and then try to figure out how to create a single report. 

Step back, ask the question, “in 12 months what are the five measures that will show whether or not we are successful in helping entrepreneurs this past year?” You may be surprised how reporting economic impact to some funders has evolved. More and more are becoming savvier regarding reporting requirements. For example, The Ewing Kauffman Foundation recently moved away from specific outputs and toward, “what do you want outcomes to be in five years?” How you get there is less of a concern. Funders are thinking more thoughtfully about how their role in the marketplace affects centers and programs. 


The Who, What and How in Reporting Economic Impact

Determine who needs the data. What kind of data is needed will help determine how to extract the data.  The “who” can be your Resource Network, entrepreneurs and business owners, corporations, boards, economic development agencies, investors, managers and staff. The “what” can be Resource Partner highlights, entrepreneur success stories, social and economic return on investment (ROI) and the accounting of weekly activities. 

The “how” can include data pulled from SourceLink Pro reports such as the SU470 Resource Partner Search Hit Analysis, the BA408 Annual Report Toolkit or the BA420 Center Impact Report. For managers and staff, the RF315 Activity Overview and CL125 Client Interaction Summary by Interaction Type. Top reports from SourceLink, the BA408 and BA420, exemplify two types of reporting, community level impact reporting vs center level reporting, such as hours served, events held, etc. 

Then, determine how do you want to communicate this information. Microsites, videos and booklets are just some of the ways our affiliates have shared impact reports with stakeholders. SourceLink Nebraska includes videos/storytelling, Sparkyard added a microsite and online dashboard, KCSourceLInk published We Create reports, Colmena66 prepares attractive impact reports, Microenterprise Collaborative of Inland SoCal conducted a report entitled, “Creating Meaningful Jobs,” Network Kansas prepares annual reports and year in reviews, The GRID in Northern Wisconsin posts video stories about innovators in their community on their website. 

Effective reporting is a journey. Affiliates need to determine a “final destination,” a clear vision of what needs to be communicated to stakeholders. An effective reporting plan will also include the ability to pivot when things change such as a global pandemic. 


SourceLink Affiliate Quarterly Conversations

SourceLink Affiliate Quarterly Conversations are an exclusive benefit for SourceLink affiliates. Agendas include topics, speakers and discussions suggested by our community of network builders and is an opportunity to share best practices and collaborate with one another. For more information about becoming a SourceLink affiliate and joining our conversations contact Dara Macan, Director of Global Partnerships and Engagement.