Some of the most successful entrepreneurial ecosystems are also talent magnets and incubators. Ecosystem building requires attracting, retaining, and cultivating talented people – including entrepreneurs, but also potential employers and other supporting partners. Strong ecosystems tend to have substantial cross-linkages between schools, universities, and the private sector so that talent supply and demand are efficiently matched.
Knowledge and resources to help entrepreneurs.
Strong ecosystems allow entrepreneurs to quickly find knowledge and resources they need to succeed. The knowledge and resources required by entrepreneurs are diverse. Knowledge may include answers to process-stopping questions (“How do I get my export license?”); points of friction (“How do I get my team to function better?”); or simple inquiries. A thriving ecosystem is an environment that encourages people to ask these questions and offers an abundance of ways for them to easily find the answers. Knowledge may reside with other entrepreneurs, other people (such as mentors or professionals), or institutions (such as universities, libraries, or accelerators).
Resources are the assets entrepreneurs need, such as capital, potential hires, office space, professional services, or raw materials. In a successful ecosystem, these resources are more abundant and visible.
It is often connections among individuals and institutions that allow knowledge and resources to flow to entrepreneurs quickly.
Champions and conveners.
Champions and conveners promote entrepreneurs, organize the ecosystem, and build awareness. They advocate for local entrepreneurs and their companies, bring them together in collaboration, challenge them to grow, and push everyone forward. They are the catalysts, connectors, cheerleaders, co-creators, and changemakers.
Champions and conveners wear many different hats. They could be the organizer of a Startup Weekend, the reporter covering local entrepreneurs, the lawyer that introduces clients to others, the early adopter who first buys from new businesses or restaurants, or the chamber leader who shines a spotlight on new businesses. Most importantly, they work relentlessly to help entrepreneurs and companies with little direct benefit for themselves.