Skip to content

Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Entrepreneurial Communities

We seek to help strengthen communities by supporting the development of ecosystem building as a field of practice to help build an economy that works for all people.

We provide tools, resources, and support efforts to help community leaders to implement policies, programs, and practices that can strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Programs & Initiatives

Ecosystems in Action: Practices from the Field

Ecosystems in Action: Practices from the Field

Ecosystem builders continue to build, shape, and develop the field of practice through their efforts in communities across the country. This series of briefs shares their stories. Each brief examines one policy, program, or practice that has been used to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems in a particular place, sharing insights and recommendations from leaders who were instrumental in implementing the practice in the community.


Kauffman Mayors' Council logo

Kauffman Mayors’ Council

Comprised of former mayors representing geographically diverse cities, the Mayors’ Council assists on initiatives throughout the Foundation, using their knowledge and experience as former mayors to support the Foundation’s work in entrepreneurship, education, and civic innovation.


ESHIP Communities

ESHIP Communities

The ESHIP Communities program, implemented through a grant to Forward Cities, is comprised of four community councils working to pilot a community-led, systems-based approach to strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems in ways that foster inclusion, relationships, collaboration, and social capital across networks.


The Ecosystem Building Playbook

The Ecosystem Building Playbook

Entrepreneurship helps build economies, but the success of entrepreneurs depends on those around them. That’s why communities build ecosystems to support entrepreneurs. Initially created to compile and share the collective work and thinking of ESHIP Summit participants, the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook 3.0 serves as a starting place for leaders who want to drive entrepreneur-focused economic development in their community.


ESHIP Summit

The ESHIP Summit

The ESHIP Summit, hosted annually by the Kauffman Foundation from 2017-2020, convened leaders from across the United States and beyond who sought to support entrepreneurs, build thriving and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems, and develop entrepreneurial ecosystem building as a field of practice to drive entrepreneur-focused economic development in communities. Summit participants continue to build, shape, and develop the field of practice through sharing stories, lessons learned, and successful applications of ecosystem building design principles and practices. The archive of sessions from the ESHIP Summit, available here, remain relevant resources for ecosystem builders everywhere.


The Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship logo

The Mayors Conference

The Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship brings together mayors and entrepreneurs to discuss ways to promote startup activity in their cities. Mayors and entrepreneurs collaborate and align their objectives, creating a new national community where the most difficult problems are addressed using the best aspects of public and private approaches.


Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) logo

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch startups, bring ideas to life, and drive economic growth through entrepreneurship. One week each November, a network of 20,000 organizations in 180 countries hosts 40,000 unique events. These activities support and inspire 10 million entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs each year, and work to strengthen the local, regional, national, and global environments and entrepreneurial ecosystems that support changemakers, doers, and dreamers everywhere.