I have been given hope this last year by our SourceLink network’s ability to rise to the extraordinary challenges of 2020. As always, and through it all, our affiliate network has put owners and entrepreneurs first. For this, our team will always champion, applaud, and celebrate, these efforts.
To this end, I’d like to highlight just a few stand out things from this last year:
Local community foundations have played a crucial role in launching a number of outstanding entrepreneurship support efforts. A few standout examples include: Starting Block Chattanooga (Chattanooga Chamber Foundation); NWI BizHub (Legacy Foundation, Crown Point Community Foundation and Unity Foundation of La Porte County), Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network (Golden Leaf Foundation), and Inland So Cal SourceLink (The James Irvine Foundation).
It has been impressive to see the accomplishments of our close partners. Fluent is changing the way startups are evaluated for acceleration programs in partnership with InBIA. Our field gained a tremendous new resource with the development of IEDC’s Entrepreneurship-Led Economic Development courses. The National League of Cities City Innovation Ecosystems Initiative has inspired 50 communities to take action on entrepreneurship locally, and I have been personally moved by the passionate leadership team in Philadelphia working to forge a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem through our partnership with Next Street.
Most importantly, this last year we saw our affiliate network rise to the challenge of 2020. Across all of our platforms, over double the number of clients were served, and utilization of The Resource Navigator, calendar, and website usage all jumped three-fold. Our network stepped up in this time of crisis, and we’ve been keeping pace, offering our Recovery and Resiliency portal and hosting online critical conversations for hundreds of you to connect and learn from one another.
Last, I’ve been blessed and am so proud of our own SourceLink team. We have been experiencing our own growth to meet these unprecedented times, welcoming Kyla Manning to staff. Our own Dara Macan and Sarah Mote earned prestigious Stevie Awards recognizing their hard work. Pola Firestone has been reaching out and checking in to see how everyone is doing, while Mark and Ananya have been enhancing and expanding our technical offerings to run along-side you in adapting to new opportunities presented with the ongoing pandemic.
Please stay safe as we enter 2021, and know I hold each of you closely in my own heart. You can catch a recap of all the exciting work that was done this last year here.
On behalf of our 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.
My most warm regards,