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ESHIP Summit

ESHIP Summit

Between 2017–2020, the Kauffman Foundation and community partners worked together to bring the ESHIP Summit to life. This convening focused on bringing together advanced practitioners to develop foundational aspects of the emerging professional practice in the United States, informed by their work in their local communities. As it has progressed, evolved, and grown over the past five years, Kauffman has considered how its role could evolve, as well.

While the Foundation’s commitment to entrepreneur-focused economic development remains strong, we will not be hosting any more ESHIP Summits. Our support for developing ecosystem building as a field of practice will continue in other ways.

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The Emerging Field of Ecosystem Building

For information about our previous Summits, visit our 20172018, and 2019 event sites, or watch the 2020 plenaries.

The ESHIP Summit brought together entrepreneurial ecosystem builders – leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship.

Launched in 2017, the ESHIP Summit was designed to bring together builders of entrepreneurial ecosystems to help accelerate the emerging field of ecosystem building, by collaboratively creating tools, resources, and knowledge to better support communities that empower the makers, doers, and dreamers in our communities.

To dive deeper into the work, check out the opening of our first ESHIP Summit from Victor Hwang, Kauffman Foundation’s Vice President of Entrepreneurship. It’s the perfect jumping-off point for history and context.

Watch: “ESHIP Summit Firestarter: Victor Hwang” | 10:06
Victor Hwang speaks about the best way to empower makers, doers, and dreamers – by growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem around them. Many have been doing this work on our own but now, we begin to build the field together.

More than 1,000 ecosystem builders from all 50 US States, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and 10 countries have joined together to prioritize the work of entrepreneurial ecosystems.

We’ve seen leaders from all walks of life – entrepreneurs, economic developers, incubator directors, mayors, coworking space owners, real estate developers, community advocates, teachers, and more. All are connected through the belief that entrepreneurship is essential to the future of our society. With that belief, they are building stronger support systems for entrepreneurs in their communities.

For information about our previous Summits, visit our 2017, 2018, and 2019 event sites, or watch the 2020 plenaries.

ESHIP Summit
ESHIP Summit

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.

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

Achieving the seven ESHIP Goals will strengthen our profession and accelerate its adoption in more communities – removing more barriers for entrepreneurs throughout the world. The ESHIP community has identified some proposed initiatives that can help solve for the ESHIP Goals. These prioritized initiatives represent concrete steps we can work on together.

National Resource Providers (NRPs)

A National Resource Provider (NRP) is an organization with national or global reach that directly serves entrepreneurial ecosystem builders (not just entrepreneurs) through training, programs, and/or funding. More than 70 NRPs have participated in ESHIP Summits to date, playing a unique and important role in the growing field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building.

As we enter the deliver phase of our work together, NRPs, in close collaboration with ecosystem-building practitioners, can provide resources and support for initiatives that move our field forward. NRPs are in a unique position to serve as a future home for new initiatives – ensuring their sustainability and accessibility for ecosystem builders everywhere.

Meet the NRPs

The following is a list of current NRPs that have been engaged with the ESHIP Community. More NRPs are continuously being added, please send a note to if you would like to refer an organization that meets the above-mentioned criteria.