The 2019 Summit

Please note that the following content is specific to the 2019 ESHIP Summit. Updates for the 2020 convening can be found here.

The 2019 ESHIP Summit in Kansas City brought together more than 500 entrepreneurial ecosystem builders – leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship. Over the course of three days in late May, the group gathered to collaborate and grow the emerging field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building.

This year, participants built upon previous Summit work by exploring how we might achieve the 7 ESHIP Goals by prioritizing initiatives around each goal and exploring how we might bring them to life.

As we transition into the Deliver phase of our multi-year "Discover-Design-Deliver" framework, more visibility, alignment, coordination and collaboration will be needed to effectively work together as we fortify the field. The ESHIP Goals serve as a framework to help us prioritize, organize, and collaborate as we work together to improve the effectiveness of ecosystem builders everywhere.

Victor Hwang, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, opened up this year’s ESHIP Summit with a look at where we are and where we’re headed. Watch his remarks below.

Watch: "ESHIP Summit 2019: Active Activism for Entrepreneurial Ecosystems with Victor Hwang" | 12:28
Kauffman's Victor Hwang answers the question, "What can you do?" to support entrepreneurial growth in your community. By being advocates for new business, we can transform communities and build ecosystems through entrepreneurship.

The ESHIP Goals

Based on the input of 800 ecosystem builders at the two ESHIP Summits, we’ve formulated the ESHIP Goals: a proposed set of collective objectives to further fortify the entrepreneurial ecosystem building field. The solutions to the ESHIP Goals will serve as tenets to the field, and the goals themselves are a checklist to help us prioritize, organize, and collaborate as we work together to improve the effectiveness of our emerging field as a whole, and as a result, the effectiveness of individual ecosystem builders everywhere.

Learn more about the ESHIP Goals and how to get involved >


The ESHIP Goals 
The ESHIP Goals: Inclusive Field, Collaborative Culture, Shared Vision, Connected Networks, Practical Metrics & Methods, Universal Support, and Sustainable Work


Our 2019 Firestarters had a common thread – the power of action in an entrepreneurial community. As we move through the Deliver phase of this work, watch these Firestarters for inspiration.

Victor Hwang, vice president, Entrepreneurship, Kauffman Foundation opened the 2019 ESHIP Summit by asking the question, "What can you do?" to help entrepreneurs, change communities, and be the leaders you have been waiting for by growing our own.
Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Wendy Guillies explores the state of entrepreneurship at the national level and how we can help to create a healthier economy for all communities.
Dell Gines, senior community development advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City discusses overcoming the challenges of minority communities in the middle of prosperous cities and how to address them with new economic development approaches.
Joe Kapp, president and CEO, National Center for Resource Development tells his personal story and the role entrepreneurship plays in social justice & social change; taking us from Silicon Valley to rural West Virginia.
ESHIP community activator Cecilia Wessinger describes the role of the community activator role and how she can support ecosystem builders and entrepreneurs along with introducing the initiatives that we can work on together.
Co-founders of the Mixtroz App Kerry Schrader and Ashley Ammons deep dive into their personal journey as entrepreneurs, the challenges that come with it, and the role that their ecosystems have played to help them in that journey.

The Ecosystem Building Science Fair

Like previous ESHIP Summits, the Ecosystem Building Science Fair took place throughout the venue in 2019. These curated display boards featured Summit attendees’ programs, learnings, research, tools, and work (or work in progress) and invited connection throughout the ESHIP Summit. Click through the gallery below to view the science fair projects.

The Creative Confessional

By Jami Milne

At the 2019 Summit, attendees had the opportunity to enter The Creative Confessional, where visual artist Jami Milne captured their story by building connections through conversation and photography. Attendees confessed the creative endeavor they never followed through with or the idea that never came to fruition. The Creative Confessional allowed attendees to speak it into existence... or finally set it free.

The Creative Confessional by Jami Milne

The Creative Confessional by Jami Milne