Reflections on Last Year’s Gathering

As we plan our next in-person gathering at the e.Builders Forum, we wanted to reflect on the shared experiences and knowledge gathered from 2023. 

Lessons from Last Year 

In April 2023, SourceLink held our much-anticipated SourceLink Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We left the summit feeling excited, invigorated, a tiny bit exhausted, but thrilled with everything we learned from our affiliates and national ecosystem building experts. Our gracious hosts for the event, Colmena66, were wonderful about sharing their vibrant community and providing their experience on building their entrepreneurial ecosystem in Puerto Rico. 

The agenda was packed with presentations from our guest speakers, which included: Nathan Ohle, President and CEO, International Economic Development Council (IEDC); Andy Stoll, Senior Program Office, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Jonathan Ortmans, President and Founder, Global Entrepreneurship Network; and Maria Meyers, SourceLink Founder and Executive Director of the UMKC Innovation Center. Our guest speakers shared important trends and practices in economic development and entrepreneur-led ecosystem building. Colmena66 also invited Rafael Cancel, a local entrepreneur, to share his story and teach everyone to dance. While the dancing engaged everyone, his passion while sharing his entrepreneurial journey was a wonderful reminder of why we do what we do.  

Outside of experts and local partners, we invited our affiliate attendees to present their best practices in a variety of areas including storytelling, marketing outreach, funding entrepreneurs and ecosystems, network navigation, and network sustainability. While we were eager to hear what our affiliates had to say, we had no idea the profound impact that this face-to-face engagement would have on all those present. Affiliates made connections, shared problems were discussed, and our network was strengthened. 

“The 2023 Sourcelink Summit lasted 3 days and by the time we left it felt like we were in a room full of family. No one was ready to leave, which is an incredible feeling to have after attending a work conference! When you work in entrepreneurship support, you are surrounded by like-minded individuals with similar goals and a shared purpose – to help each other and to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem.” Tiffany Nixon, Director, Impact Investment Services, Network Kansas. 

Toward the Future: Kansas City, Here We Come 

There were a lot of benefits to meeting in person for our SourceLink Summit, so we knew we needed to do it again! This year, the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), SourceLink, Third Eye Network and KCSourceLink will be partnering to deliver the 2024 Forum in Kansas City, MO October 22-24, 2024. This three-day event will feature: 

  • Invaluable insights from diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem building leaders from across a multitude of sectors 
  • Access to in-depth tools and resources to streamline ecosystem building activities 
  • Opportunities to connect, share experiences with peers and cultivate relationships that will empower you. 
  • Celebrate the Kansas City ecosystem together, we have curated local tours of businesses, food, and entertainment experiences you will love. 
  • A “Collaborative Sourcing Showcase” event where you can engage with nonprofit and public sector agencies to explore inclusive procurement opportunities. 

Our SourceLink community of affiliates is an incredible force in ecosystem building. We are constantly learning from each other, and our 2023 summit allowed us to share those lessons and plan new possibilities. We can’t wait to hear from you at our next gathering.  

Please share with us your interest in attending the e.Builders Forum.