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Firestarter videos

2018 Firestarter Sessions

No panels, and essentially, no keynote speakers.

Instead, conference attendees shared a story, notion, thought, project or idea to seed people’s thinking. These moments, dubbed “Firestarter Sessions,” fueled creativity, analysis, and inspiration for the work ahead.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Kickoff: Navigating the Fog” | 10:06

The typical journey of an entrepreneur is a long drive on a twisting road. Even the most fortunate founders face challenges around every corner. A community with a support system can help entrepreneurs navigate the obstacles in the road. A new role, that of ecosystem builder, is emerging in communities across the country to help entrepreneurs in a more deliberate way.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Wendy Guillies” | 9:20

Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, addresses the mayors attending the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, and the ecosystem builders attending the ESHIP Summit in Kansas City, Missouri: “Even though we have different roles and we might [approach] our work from a little different perspective, at the end of the day, we’re really all aimed at the same thing, and that is helping to create and nurture more vibrant, inclusive, entrepreneurial communities.”

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Miriam Rivera” | 21:40

In a self-reflection on the importance of inclusive and collaborative ecosystems on her path in life, Miriam Rivera, managing director at Ulu Ventures and an early member of the Google executive team, shares her entrepreneurial journey from being an “at-risk” child living in Chicago to creating her own venture capital firm.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Victor Hwang” | 11:55

Explore where ecosystem building is as a movement and what comes next, including an overview of the seven goals for this emerging field, in this presentation from Victor Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, at the 2018 ESHIP Summit.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Fabian Pfortmüller” | 17:41

Fabian Pfortmüller, founder and CEO of COMMUNITY and Kauffman innovator-in-residence, shares the insights he’s learned from building communities over the last 15 years, starting with the key to effective community: “designing it as a group of people that trust each other and feel they belong together.”

Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton

Change Catalyst: Part I

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Change Catalyst Part I, feat. Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton” | 9:32

Finding solutions for creating entrepreneurial ecosystems that promote diversity, foster inclusion and improve equity for everyone starts with identifying the challenges and barriers. Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton of Change Catalyst define and frame the universal challenge of inclusive ecosystems in part one of their presentation at the 2018 ESHIP Summit.

Dr. JaNay Queen Nazaire

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Dr. JaNay Queen Nazaire” | 12:57

What do you believe about diversity and inclusion? This is the question Dr. JaNay Queen Nazaire, managing director for performance and results at Living Cities, poses to the audience at the 2018 ESHIP Summit. She then reveals three ideas to consider around how we each use our personal power and resources to influence inclusive systems.

Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton

Change Catalyst: Part II

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Change Catalyst Part II, feat. Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton” | 12:44

In their return to the stage, Melinda Briana Epler and Wayne Sutton of Change Catalyst outline the importance of allyship and addressing systemic problems in order to begin to design a process of cultural change toward more inclusive ecosystems for all entrepreneurs.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Mayor Oliver Gilbert” | 10:36

Your socks don’t have to match: Mayor Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens, Florida, outlines how individual situations from his life are examples of entrepreneurs that don’t fit the generally accepted view of founders.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Lori Lea Pourier” | 8:51

Lori Lea Pourier, president of First Peoples Fund, gives an account of what it was like building a business as a Native American working in the arts and how her ecosystem is growing and creating resources for those generally left out of typical entrepreneur economies.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Augusto Sanabria” | 9:21

Hispanics are a significant and growing part of the entrepreneur community. Augusto Sanabria, president and CEO of Prospera, gives an overview of the Hispanic market and how to create more inclusive ecosystems to help encourage Hispanic-owned startups and business growth.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Aliza Sir” | 7:13

When we think about entrepreneurs, many do not think about older adults near retirement age. Aliza Sir, social entrepreneur in residence at the AARP Foundation, explores the challenges that older entrepreneurs face within the startup ecosystem.

Enoch Elwell and Tianna Weaver


Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarters: Enoch Elwell and Tianna Weaver” | 8:43

Enoch and Tiana from CO.STARTERS introduced the Ecosystem Building Marketplace, a platform for discovery of tools, resources, and collaborations that can help support entrepreneur ecosystem builders at scale.

Victor Hwang: In closing

ESHIP Firestarter: Victor Hwang | 8:42

Victor Hwang closes the 2018 Summit with an overview of the work, thank you’s for those that support the makers, the doers, and dreamers, and a commitment from Kauffman to continue supporting those doing the work in the emerging field of ecosystem building.

Why do you do what you do?

ESHIP Summit 2018: “Why do you do what you do?” | 5:01

At the 2018 ESHIP Summit, we asked some of the 620 entrepreneurial ecosystem builders in attendance to tell us what drives them, what keeps them building and dreaming – why they do what they do.