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When Mayors and Entrepreneurs Collide—For Good

Mayors worked alongside entrepreneurs at the fifth annual Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, hosted this year in Oakland, California, to find real solutions to common problems in communities nationwide.

“We don’t have time for partisan politics. We belong to the party of ‘get real work done.'”

With that sentiment, Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, set the tone for this year’s Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship. Oakland was the fifth city to host the annual conference, which brings together policymakers and entrepreneurs to find real solutions to common problems in communities nationwide.

For one and a half days, mayors worked alongside entrepreneurs to generate new ideas, share practical insights and create action plans to implement in their home cities.

Three focus areas—civic infrastructure, economic inclusion and municipal financing—yielded rich conversations and realistic ideas for tackling problems (or, as an entrepreneur looks at them, opportunities) such as affordable housing, the future of transportation, access to fiber-optic internet and data-driven, community-focused policing.

Participants also discussed ways to build vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems so more voices and ideas could be elevated in the search for smart solutions.

To foster more of this collaboration, the Kauffman Foundation used human-centered design principles coupled with deep subject matter expertise during the conference. The results of this immersive process will be documented in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook, a work-in-progress guide for fostering entrepreneurship in communities big and small.

If you were unable to attend the conference, you can still share your stories with us to help pave the way for ecosystem building everywhere. It’s one way you can help entrepreneurs—and those who fight for entrepreneurs—get real work done.