Entrepreneurial ecosystems are becoming recognized as a way to stimulate economic growth, innovation, and social change. Their implementation is gaining momentum across the United States and other parts of the world as their benefits are recognized. Nations, cities, regions, universities, and others are collaborating to put in place entrepreneurial ecosystems as a critical component of their innovation strategies seeking to improve economies, societies, and institutions. Innovation Districts, Smart City Infrastructures, research parks, coworking spaces, and regional economic clusters are examples of economic development investments that are being made by many, yet it is well recognized that much of the value comes from the personal collisions and relationships that are possible because of the physical proximity, information exchange, and density they create.
Using the metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Kansas City, this paper provides insights into how regions can accelerate momentum and increase their return on these investments. The paper focues on Entrepreneur Development organizations, which provide the first step in any ecosystem's startup pipeline and feed and strengthen Venture and Economic Development to achieve economic outcomes.