Best Practices

Round Up: What Is an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem?

Published Dec 12, 2016 by Sarah Mote

Entrepreneurship EcosystemTrue or false: entrepreneurs drive the entrepreneurship ecosystem.

False, at least according to Daniel Isenberg, founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project. In his 2014 article, What an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Actually Is, Isenberg proffers a 10-question true-false test on entrepreneurial ecosystems: what they are, what they should measure and what initiatives (education? coworking spaces? angel tax credits?) contribute to a vibrant entrepreneurial mindset and scene. 

Isenberg’s pop quiz joins this week’s round up of articles about what an entrepreneurship ecosystem is—and if your community is ready to build one.  

What Makes an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem? (TheFamily, 2015)

Nicholas Collin of TheFamily tracks how three ingredients (capital, know-how and rebellion) and an interplay of key drivers (entrepreneurs, government and investors) helped make, or break, several entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Creating an ‘Ecosystem for Minority Entrepreneurs (Entrepreneur, 2011)

We’ll dedicate a whole round up to inclusive entrepreneurship, but this article is a good start. In it, John Sibley Butler calls for urban centers to develop ecosystems that support entrepreneurs, particularly those that create jobs in minority communities. "The first thing you have to do is bring wealthy people into the equation," he said. "Wealth has to be a constant, consistent component."

Creating Entrepreneurial Communities: Building Community Capacity for Ecosystem Development Download (Community Development Society Journal, 2015)

Deb Markely, Thomas Lyons and Don Macke of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship contributed to this scholarly article, originally published the Community Development Society Journal. This paper draws on field-based learning, primarily in Kansas and Australia, to develop the conceptual underpinnings for an approach to creating entrepreneurial communities that builds the capacity of the community to host and support an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the capacity of entrepreneurs to grow themselves and their businesses in support of community economic development.

How to Create a Sustainable Entrepreneurial Community (Feld Thoughts, 2010)

You’ve likely read Brad Feld’s book, Startup Communities. Check out the blog that feed the book around how to create and sustain an entrepreneurial ecosystem. In this particular gem of a historical post, this statement still (and will always) ring true: “It’s futile to try to be the next Silicon Valley. Instead, recognize that Silicon Valley has strengths and weaknesses. Learn from the strengths and incorporate the ones that fit with your community while trying to avoid the weaknesses. Leverage the natural resources of your community and be the best, unique entrepreneurial community that you can be. Basically, play to your strengths.”

Main Street Entrepreneurs are Economic and Community Pillars (Kauffman Foundation, 2016)

Innovation-led entrepreneurs often grab the headlines, so it’s refreshing to see research around Main Street entrepreneurs, those locally owned small businesses that make up some 63 percent of the economy. After you review the research and impact, be sure to check out how SourceLink affiliates are building awareness of these entrepreneurs and connecting Main Street businesses with resources.