Best Practices

Ecosystem Builders Bridging the Gap for Urban and Rural Communities

Published Apr 05, 2018 by Sarah Mote

Ecosystem Builders Bridging the Gap for Urban and Rural Communities | SourceLink


Now, more than ever, geography does not determine the success of a business. Communities far and wide and in the middle can cultivate entrepreneurship and help aspiring business owners start and grow businesses.

How? Enter the Growing Entrepreneurial Communities Summit happening April 25-26. This two-day meeting of the minds brings together economic developers, community builders and champions of entrepreneurship from all over the nation to create entrepreneurship-led economic development strategies. While we create action plans to bridge the gaps in disadvantaged urban and rural communities, expect to hear from speakers of all backgrounds— rural economic developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, authors, tech founders, social enterprise leaders and much more.

Each speaker at the summit will set the stage for a topic on entrepreneurship-led economic development, which will then be followed by mini-roundtables for deep sharing of what works and doesn't work in real-life practice. This unusual format leads to actionable strategies attendees can take back to their communities.

We’re proud to host this amazing group of talented and brilliant minds. Here’s just a few of the featured speakers for this year’s summit. Be sure to check out the full agenda happening April 25-26, 2018.


Penny Lewandowski,
Edward Lowe Foundation - Recognized as a thought leader in entrepreneurship and building an entrepreneurial culture, Lewandowski is a board member of the International Economic Development Council. She is a frequent speaker on new ways to think about economic development — especially how a grow-from-within strategy leads to thriving and sustainable economies — and author of the blog, Penny on the Edge.


Denisse Rodríguez,
Colmena66 - Denisse Rodríguez is the director and executive advisor to the CEO at the Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust, where she leads Colmena66, a program that helps entrepreneurs find all the resources they need to start or grow their business. Denisse was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper, a global network of young leaders committed to improving their communities.
Follow her on Twitter: @DenisseMaria


Lyneir Richardson,
Rutgers Business School - Lyneir Richardson is CEO of Chicago TREND, a social enterprise aiming to catalyze retail development to strengthen commercial corridors in urban neighborhoods. The startup received $7 million of seed capital to launch operations and is actively investing in real estate projects. He is also a Professional Practice Instructor in the Department of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School. He leads the Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, an award-winning research and practitioner-oriented center that builds the capacity of small business owners.
Follow him on Twitter: @LyneirRich


Mark Muro, Brookings Institute - Mark Muro is a senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings. His work focuses on regional innovation and industrial ecosystems and how regions can manage technological and other disruptions. He is an expert on regional technology ecosystems, digitalization and economic development and has published extensively on advanced industries, manufacturing, innovation, automation, digital trends, energy and regional development issues. 
Follow him on Twitter: @MarkMuro1


Felecia Hatcher,
Code Fever Miami - Felecia Hatcher is on a mission to rid communities of innovation deserts by working with community leaders and government officials to create inclusive and diverse tech/startup ecosystems as the co-founder of Code Fever, Black Tech Week and Tribe Cowork and Urban Innovation Lab. As an author and social entrepreneur, Felecia was named one of the Empact 100 Top 100 Entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by the White House and Kauffman Foundation in 2011, a 2014 White House Champion of Change for STEM Access and Diversity, Ruth Shack Honoree, 2017 Comcast/Nationswell Tech Impact Allstar, a Black Enterprise 2017 TechConnext Game Changer and 2016 Innovator of the Week and Essence Magazine’s Tech Master. She has also been featured on the NBC Today Show, MSNBC, Forbes, the Cooking Channel and Grio’s 100 African Americans Making History. 
Follow her on Twitter: @FeleciaHatcher


Elizabeth Isele,
The Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship - Recognized globally as a pioneering senior and intergenerational entrepreneurship expert, Elizabeth Isele is leading a movement to transform the culture of aging and retirement. Her passion to ignite an Experienced Economy™ by unleashing the potential of 50+ year-olds to drive economic markets and generate social and environmental impact is grounded in data and metrics. In 2017, she was named one of NextAvenue’s 50 Top Influencers in Aging. 
Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethisele

Andy Stoll, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation - Andy Stoll is a serial entrepreneur and a senior program officer at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he is responsible for the implementation and management of the foundation’s ecosystem development strategy. He is the co-founder of six entrepreneurial-focused organizations, most recently the Startup Champions Network, the nation’s first professional association for full-time innovation ecosystem builders. 
Follow him on Twitter: @andystoll

See you there?

Are you still on the fence about joining us at the #growingeship summit? Read our 8 Reasons Why You Should Attend the Growing Entrepreneurial Communities Summit.


Sarah Mote
Sarah Mote is the marketing director at SourceLink. Sarah brings her experience as an entrepreneur, storyteller and content strategist to help shape the story of SourceLink and that of our affiliate communities.