Skip to content


Attendees share overall learnings from the inaugural ESHIP Summit.

Knowledge, drive and grit know no racial or socioeconomic boundaries. If ecosystem builders can intentionally extend entrepreneurship into “have-not” communities, we can positively impact our economy and, perhaps even more importantly, the people who deserve a chance to succeed.
Read: The Future of Entrepreneurship: An ESHIP Summit Recap | Galvanize

Economic development means looking beyond siloed organizations’ success metrics and instead creating integrated systems to help entrepreneurs of all kinds thrive.
Read: A Look Back at the 2017 ESHIP Summit | CO.STARTERS

NASA’s Jenn Gustetic shares her key takeaways from the convening.
Read: 10 Insights from the Inaugural Summit | Jenn Gustetic

Innovator Ryan Lilly calls the ESHIP Summit “exactly what ecosystem builders needed.” Read more about his experience in Kansas City.
Read: Cotton Candy Milk: Lessons Learned in Kansas City | Ryan Lilly

How do you build a thriving community of entrepreneurs? Ecosystem builders share their top tips for energizing entrepreneurship in their communities, no matter where in the world that is.
Read: 10 Ways to Break Down Barriers for Entrepreneurs | Sarah Morgan, NationSwell

When entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders work together, challenge their biases and inspire leadership, communities and economies transform. It’s already happening in Kansas City.
Read: 9 Takeaways from Ecosystem Builders | Sarah Mote, SourceLink

Kerry Anderson, author of Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business, and more than 400 entrepreneurship advocates worldwide agree: Any community, no matter how big or small, has the capacity to develop an entrepreneur ecosystem.
Read: An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Needs a Collaborative Culture | Kerry Anderson

The Impact of Ecosystem Builders

The impact created at the ESHIP Summit expands beyond the three-day conference in Kansas City.

Victor W. Hwang, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, stresses the importance of a new economic model that infuses entrepreneurship into the American economy. It starts with ecosystem builders.
Read: A New Builder is Transforming the Entrepreneurship Landscape | Victor H. Hwang, CityLab

Not only does diversity and inclusion pay dividends in the health and growth of the American economy, but it’s the right thing to do. Ecosystem builders need to be cognizant of who is—and isn’t—sitting at the table.
Read: Ecosystem Builders Forge New Economic Model | Bobby Burch, Startland News

How does quality of place contribute to the shared identity and culture of an entrepreneurial ecosystem? An economic development consultant challenges ecosystem builders to consider what role the physical environment plays when it comes to supporting entrepreneurs.
Read: A Challenge for Ecosystem Builders | Christa Ouderkirk Franzi, Camoin Associates

Entrepreneurial ecosystems have enormous potential to unlock business and job growth, and the most important component to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem are the entrepreneurs themselves.
Read: Spurring Entrepreneurship Starts by Talking with Talent | Don Macke, Route Fifty

It’s time to dispel the myth that most entrepreneurial growth is organic, growing spontaneously from random collisions between people with creative ideas. Communities that want to see accelerated entrepreneurial growth need an intentional strategy.
Read: The Job-Creating Infrastructure Every Community Needs | Maria Meyers, Governing

Job-creating innovation and inner cities can prosper together. It starts with talent and inclusive entrepreneurship, rather than a focus on the traditional geographic locations that have so dominated capital for business in the past.
Read: Nurturing the Entrepreneurs Our Inner Cities Need | Richard May, Governing

To build a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports aspiring entrepreneurs of all races and socio-economic backgrounds, community and business leaders across sectors must proactively and seamlessly connect business owners of color with experts, networks and resources.
Read: Why Entrepreneurs of Color Are Struggling | Ben Hecht, CityLab

Read about entrepreneurial ecosystems in specific communities across the United States.

Joshua Baer from Capital Factory learns how to further support entrepreneurial growth.
Read: Texas Goes to KC for the ESHIP Summit | Joshua Baer, Austin Startups

Christina Henderson, executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, supports local tech entrepreneurs and tells the stories of their unlikely success in an unlikely place far from Silicon Valley.
Read: Supporting Startups in Montana’s Wide Open Spaces | Sarah Morgan, NationSwell

Eva Garcia, ecosystem builder and city planner, uses entrepreneurship and collaboration to capitalize on the potential of her Texas city.
Read: There’s Always Something to Do in Brownsville | Sarah Morgan, NationSwell

Geraud Staton, founder of Helius Foundation, supports under-resourced entrepreneurs in Durham, Alabama, with free coaching and mentoring to help his community flourish again.
Read: When Entrepreneurship is the Only Option | Sarah Morgan, NationSwell

Brooke McDonald, CEO and co-founder of LeadLocal, identifies four pillars of effective ecosystem building.
Read: Bringing It Back Home to Tucson, Arizona | Brooke McDonald, LeadLocal

Felecia Hatcher, author, startup advisor and co-founder of Code Fever/Black Tech Week, highlights ten inspirational stories of black startup founders and entrepreneurs working toward a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in KC.
Read: 10 Black Innovators Making Waves in Kansas City | Felecia Hatcher, Huffington Post

Entrepreneur Vewiser Dixon has big plans for Kansas City’s jazz district, but economic development in his neighborhood has been a challenge.
Read: The Hunt for an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem | Ron Knox, CityLab

Rural communities have valuable assets that make them fertile ground for startups. To tap those assets, community members must focus on building entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Read: Rural Communities’ Untapped Potential for Growth | Don Macke, Governing

Silicon Valley may be world-renowned for its entrepreneurship, but even California community colleges are looking to Appalachia for help with ecosystem mapping—a technique which helps folks identify the unique strengths and attributes of their local communities.
Read: How Ecosystem Mapping by Colleges Can Help Transform Struggling Communities | Rebecca Corbin & Amy Schulz, Education Drive

Startup and small business advisor Anika Horn shares her experiences at the ESHIP Summit.

What is the future we want to live in, and how do we get there? Attendees explore these questions and more at this year’s ESHIP Summit.
Read: ESHIP Series: The Startup Ecosystems of the Future | Anika Horn

To create ultimate impact, we must remember to get out of our comfort zones and stay hungry to always learn more.
Read: ESHIP Series: Big-Picture Thinking and Self-Reflectedness | Anika Horn

What makes or breaks a productive startup ecosystem? Ecosystem builders from across the country work to build it, arts and crafts style.
Read: ESHIP Series: Making and Breaking Startup Ecosystems | Anika Horn

What’s an ecosystem builder? This description outlines skills and training for the ecosystem builders of the future.
Read: ESHIP Series: So You Think You’re an Ecosystem Builder… | Anika Horn

Firestarters. Feathers. Yoga. Art. These things, along with frank conversations, make a conference uncommon.
Read: ESHIP Series: How to Run a Great Show | Anika Horn