Empowering your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Identifying assets is one thing.  Building an entrepreneurial community is another.  Having an online list of available resources does not make an ecosystem.  A network becomes effective when it engages, listens, responds and collaborates to solve problems and fill entrepreneurial gaps within the ecosystem or infrastructure. It is connecting and activating a resource network that causes strategic and dynamic change the community.

Rob Williams

A fundamental part of what we do is empower our SourceLink communities to take a risk and collaborate with their peers resulting in true entrepreneurial infrastructure benefits.

Rob Williams, Director, SourceLink

Putting it all together with SourceLink Workshops

  • Identify and map assets using the Resource Navigator® online search system.

  • Engage by implementing a central 1-Stop website that makes those assets easy to find and includes a central calendar of events and information on how to start and grow a business in your community.

  • Listen by engaging through social media, a hotline, community listening sessions and use Biz-Trakker® client management system to track and survey for results.

  • Respond to community needs by producing gap reports.

  • Collaborate with the community to address those gaps.

  • Measure and track success.  

Rinse, repeat and evolve.

One Definition Does Not Fit All: the Four Quadrants of Entrepreneurship

No two entrepreneurs are the same. Research suggests that entrepreneurs, and the services that are best positioned to serve them, cluster around four distinct types: Microenterprise, Main Street, Innovation-Led, and Second Stage.  Participants will learn more about these four distinct types of entrepreneurs and what types of resources best support them in reaching their goals.


Mapping Entrepreneurial Assets in Your Community

Most communities have an abundance of resource organizations, all seeking the same outcome: to help local businesses start and grow. From Small Business Development Centers to advanced and specialized accelerators, communities must both identify and then direct entrepreneurs to best fit resources. Successful communities understand their assets: what they have, and what is missing. The first step in this process is to gather service providers together to identify available resources and begin to understand where gaps may exist within the ecosystem, positioning the network for development. This workshop explores the uniqueness of your entrepreneurial ecosystem, sets expectations for long term collaboration, and can be the starting point to building The Resource Navigator®.

Taking the Pulse of Your Community: The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Scorecard

In order to understand how to move forward to build a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem, a community must first analyze where they currently are positioned.  SourceLink facilitates discussions on the strength of connections among the existing ecosystem and begins to identify previously hidden opportunities for growth. Through this innovative process, resource organizations are asked, often for the first time, what they perceive the strength of their network to be. Through professional facilitation of this topic with global expertise to inform, and the expert capture of salient metrics, a single agency is able to begin to chart a strategic vision for how an entrepreneurial ecosystem may be aligned to maximize entrepreneurship economic development efforts.

Being "Social": Leveraging Social Media to Share the Entrepreneurial Story

With the ever changing world of online platforms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, economic development agencies are being challenged like never before to find ways to stay relevant as a legitimate resource for entrepreneurs to find, utilize, and leverage information for growth.  Given this complexity, SourceLink will share strategies and best practices that help communities stay top of mind and impactful, providing compelling help to entrepreneurs of all kinds exactly when they need it.


Building Entrepreneurial Community: Tips and Tricks for Bringing your Resource Community Together

Meeting once is not enough.  This workshop explores tips, tricks and tools that will engage your resource partners into an active network.

Using Events to Fuel Your Ecosystem

In communities of any size, the celebration of entrepreneurship should be a shared endeavor. Events from one hour to one week can strengthen the community and bring together resource partners, boards of directors, people of influence, right down to individual business owners of all kinds.  Unique events help spur community-wide conversations about entrepreneurship and rally a region around the idea that entrepreneurship is not just a viable career option for high school graduates, but also for innovative teams within corporations just waiting to take the leap.  The SourceLink framework will provide any hosting organization with valuable data to inform programmatic opportunities for meaningful collaboration and growth.


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Find a Need, Fill a Need: Gap Analysis for Your Entrepreneurial Community

SourceLink will work with you to quickly identify gaps that may exist within your ecosystem.  As part of this process, SourceLink will "train the trainer" on how to facilitate a meeting of resource partners to discuss available services, identify gaps and formulate sub-committees with working strategic objectives to ensure that opportunities for advancement in the ecosystem become addressed in a timely and impactful manner.

Setting up an Annual Measurement System

How does a community know its entrepreneurial ecosystem is headed in the right direction? What defines success – and how can it be measured?  Each community is different and measurement should be based on what that community wants to accomplish.  Setting up the metrics to measure progress and report on economic impact gives everyone a chance to know where they are. 

Lessons from the Front: Best Practices in Developing an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

With a decade of global practitioner experience, the SourceLink network has grown to now cover many different parts of the country, from Seattle to San Juan. Our affiliates have wasted no time innovating on the base platform SourceLink provides, and from this front-line network, some of the most impactful best practices have emerged. In Kansas City, KCSourceLink has developed the We Create Capital report now used to benchmark entrepreneurial access to capital. In Iowa, a Business Concierge service was developed and made available offering free market research in addition to hotline referrals. Kansas has expanded their statewide reach by empowering local cities with resources via their E-Community program.

Driving Future Impact: Community Strategic Planning for Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (Series)

It is commonly cited that Sun Tzu once said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

In order for any community to identify and implement important entrepreneurial systematic change, a strategic direction must be forged.  To this end, SourceLink has developed a series of sessions combining many of the workshops included here, in addition to our consulting services to help a community develop a strategic plan for how they can approach entrepreneurial economic development.  Please contact us to learn more.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to Dara Macan and tell us what you are excited about in your community; we'd love to learn from your expertise and feature you as one of our forward-thinking leaders in our emerging industry.

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