Best Practices

SourceLink 2020 Year in Review

Published Jan 14, 2021 by Rob Williams


As always, and through it all in 2020, our SourceLink network put owners and entrepreneurs first. To this end, I’d like to highlight all of the amazing things we were able to accomplish together last year.

If you would like to learn more about any of these initiatives, please drop me an e-mail and it would be my pleasure to e-introduce you to our local project lead.

Blueprint Easthampton 

The City of Easthampton, MA worked with SourceLink to conduct an inventory the region’s nonprofit, higher education and governmental support resources for entrepreneurship as well as lending and equity sources.  Additionally, benchmarking was completed to see how the city is doing with regard to those available resources. Resulting new resources launched in 2020 include: a business resource guide, an interactive online Resource Navigator and an entrepreneurship evaluation and findings report. All of the findings and information were captured and placed on a new SourceLink powered website at Blueprint Easthampton

COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Support 

The bulk of our staff time was spent in 2020 supporting all of you. We guided many affiliates with creating COVID-19 information pages, helped programs built pathways to streamline data entry so they could meet with more owner clients, and even produced a series of webinars to share best practices and advice about how you were approaching resiliency and recovery efforts. We also held a number of Quarterly Conversations. Our favorite conversation this year was on Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building: Moving into Action

Des Moines Jobs Report | Central Iowa 

The Greater Des Moines Partnership updated their startup and entrepreneurship impact data to understand and act on emerging trends happening within the central Iowa business community. 

Entrepreneurship-led Economic Development Certification 

Developed with support from the Kauffman Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and in partnership with SourceLink, two new courses are being added to IEDC’s professional development line-up. They are designed for professionals who work with entrepreneurs and small businesses as well as those that support them via programs, networks and approaches that foster small business and entrepreneurial growth

Fluency Score Pilot Program with InBIA 

Select startup accelerators across the country piloted The Fluency Score, a tool for evaluating companies applying to their programs, thanks to a partnership with InBIA (the International Business Innovation Association), Fluent, a Denver-based fintech startup, and SourceLink®, a non-profit entrepreneurial ecosystem resource provider. 

IASourceLink | State of Iowa 

Building on the statewide platform launched back in November of 2012, Iowa redesigned the IASourceLink website to better direct Iowa owners to key areas of business startup assistance.  

Inland SoCal SourceLink | Inland Southern California  

The MicroEnterprise Collaborative of Inland Southern California and the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center were able to produce a research report demonstrating the quality of jobs created by micro-businesses and the barriers that prevent an owner from becoming an employer. Further, they celebrated the creation of an online small business assistance directory for Southern California entrepreneurs

Launch Network | North Louisiana 

As part of its continuing effort to grow Louisiana companies of all kinds, EAP LA worked with SourceLink to create Launch Network, a place to celebrate and better connect entrepreneurs to available resources in a meaningful way to move firms forward. 

 

 

Missouri Broadband Resource Rail | State of Missouri 

The Missouri Broadband Resource Rail is a coordinated effort to encourage the statewide build-out of reliable high-speed internet (broadband) infrastructure and use of broadband-based applications to improve the lives of Missourians. The Broadband Initiative embodies the University of Missouri System’s mission as a land-grant educational institution and is powered by SourceLink and CARES/All Things Missouri. It involves faculty, researchers, staff and resources at all four System’s campuses — the University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri Kansas City, Missouri University of Science and Technology and University of Missouri-St. Louis — and MU Extension faculty and specialists in all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis. 

New Bedford SourceLink | New Bedford, MA 

New Bedford SourceLink is a supportive platform that connects maritime, arts+culture, and main street entrepreneurs to a network of local, regional, and national resource partners to foster innovation, growth, and prosperity. 

 

 

Nexus i90 | Finger Lakes Region of the State of New York 

Nexus i90’s mission is to help small businesses thrive across the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes Region. Nexus i90 partners are all committed to Guiding Principles of collaboration, community, inclusion, equity, and evidence. Nexus i90 is built on an innovative model of empowering resource partners who join capacity building services to maximize the impact of their entrepreneurship offerings.  

NWI BizHub | Northwest Illinois 

A powerful coalition of three foundations, the local SBDC and a workforce development agency came together to create NWI BizHub. This team took inspiration from one of their SourceLink peers, ChiBizHub, with their branding and website design. 

Philadelphia Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project 

The United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, City of Philadelphia Commerce Department, and PIDC Philadelphia launched an ambitious effort to better understand the unique needs of small businesses owned by people of color, women and immigrants in the city of Philadelphia. This project is a collective effort driven by Next Street, Urbane, ESI, and SourceLink. A new coalition (and related initiatives) will be coming in 2021 based on the research and findings completed this last year. 

Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network | Sandhills Region of North Carolina 

SEEN is dedicated to helping connect and grow the entrepreneurial community in the 10-county Sandhills region of southeastern North Carolina. They are training up a team of network navigators (entrepreneurs in residence) to work with entrepreneurship support organizations and entrepreneurs across the region to activate their network.

Sparkyard | Fort Worth, TX 

Sparkyard has seen a whirlwind of impressive impact this last year. Through their efforts, they launched the Sparkyard Growth Circuit, published a jobs report, and launched a website redesign- all during a worldwide pandemic where they were called upon to serve twice as many entrepreneurs reaching out for critical Fort Worth business information and help

Start In Wisconsin | State of Wisconsin 

Start In Wisconsin is a national first for creating a comprehensive statewide infrastructure that is managed and owned locally by regional leads (often local community organizers, ecosystem builders, and economic development agencies). The network has impressive strength at scale, while the power to meet entrepreneurs where they are – all the way down to the main streets where they reside. The network showcases the best that can happen when a state economic development agency allows for trust and partnership with a state university + local ecosystem builders.  

Starting Block Chattanooga | Chattanooga, TN 

Home to one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial communities in Tennessee, Starting Block Chattanooga was created to help entrepreneurs navigate the fast-evolving Chattanooga startup ecosystem.  

The GRID | Northern Wisconsin 

One of the networks we are most proud of from a design perspective comes from the team at The GRID. Not only were they able to launch a beautiful new website, they also trained and equipped outreach liaisons to go meet with local resource partners and recruit them to join the initiative. This will soon culminate in a private resource directory that will be used to leverage hidden (and often uncommon) rural and community assets to champion community innovators, entrepreneurs, and more. 

UMKC TalentLink | Kansas City, MO 

UMKC TalentLink is redefining the role of higher education in the Kansas City marketplace, helping to connect adult learners to new skills and opportunities to better meet local employer needs with workforce ready opportunities. 

Website WordPress Development – All Website Affiliates (soon!) 

SourceLink was able to cross a major milestone this last year launching 13 websites on our new WordPress website framework. Migration plans will be coming soon for all of our current affiliates. This migration will give everyone improved online visibility, much easier website changes, and most importantly, the ability to add many new features and functionality. 

SourceLink Staff Recognition  

Kyla ManningThis year we welcomed Kyla Manning to our staff. Kyla serves as a national business development consultant for SourceLink. In this role, she supports SourceLink with expanding its national footprint by focusing on expanding SourceLink software and consultancy solutions.  She brings personal passion for small business success along with considerable enterprise technology business development expertise from her previous roles at Sprint and Google Fiber. 

Additionally, Dara Macan and Sarah Mote both won prestigious Stevie Awards for their outstanding work supporting our network and team.

 

Dara Macan Sarah Mote Stevie Awards

 

I’m supremely proud of the work our team and affiliates have been able to accomplish in 2020. Please stay safe as we enter 2021, and know I hold each of you closely in my own heart. On behalf of our entire SourceLink team, and all the many entrepreneurs that you have helped navigate this last year, may you have a wonderful new year and I look forward to hearing how you will continue to inspire us.


SourceLink Rob Williams

Rob Williams is the director of SourceLink where he puts the “serve” in customer service, always available as support to SourceLink clients who are often the unsung entrepreneurial champions in their communities.