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ESHIP Summit

Collaboration and Culture Building

The essence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem is the culture of trust and collaboration that allows people to interact successfully. An ecosystem that allows for the fast flow of talent, information, and resources helps entrepreneurs quickly find what they need at each stage of growth. These Firestarters focus on the collaboration and creation of a supportive culture that are vital to ecosystem-building.

Building Community Through Trust and Belonging: Thoughts on Fabian Pfortmüller’s Firestarter Talk on Togetherness

Presented by Fabian Pfortmüller

Written by Anika Horn

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

Fabian Portfmüller is the co-founder of Holstee, a lifestyle brand, and Community, a strategic advisory firm helping organizations better understand and, hence, build community. At the time of his Firestarter at the 2018 ESHIP Summit, Fabian was also an innovator in residence at the Kauffman Foundation from 2017-2019. In his talk, he draws from his experience of researching and analyzing over 120 communities worldwide to find out what “community” entails and how we can create meaningful connections and experiences to build strong, genuine communities.

The meaning of the term “community” has been diffused to the point of describing anything and nothing – from a group of salad-lovers in Brooklyn to the entrepreneurship community. If we want to create meaningful communities, we first need to define what we mean by it.

“A community is a group of people that trust each other and feel like they belong together. Trust describes the relationships we have among each other, while belonging is our sense of whole, togetherness, and shared identity.”

It is at the intersection of trust and belonging that we unlock community. Over the past decades, these places of intersection, like churches, neighborhoods, and villages, have become more and more rare. Therefore, we find ourselves in need of choosing and creating communities that we want to be part of.

Trust and belonging plays a critical role in ecosystem building. You can only grow and leverage a network if people trust each other even if they don’t all know each other personally (we call this proxy-trust).

If we are aiming for mass collaboration and “togetherness” in our communities, how do we then optimize for trust and belonging in our every-day work?

Making the Leap from Entrepreneur to Ecosystem Builder: A Deeper Look at Cecilia Wessinger’s Firestarter

Presented by Cecilia Wessinger

Written by Tyler LeCompte

Watch: “ESHIP Summit 2019: Cecilia Wessinger” | 6:46

Cecilia Wessinger is an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder and supports the Kauffman Foundation as an ESHIP Community Activator. At the 2019 ESHIP Summit, she shared her experience transitioning from an entrepreneur to an ecosystem builder to community activator, and supporting and cultivating a sense of belonging in the ESHIP community.

Like many entrepreneurs, Cecilia Wessinger’s journey to the 2019 ESHIP Summit stage started with a cup of coffee and an idea. As a consultant on community activation for the Kauffman Foundation, Wessinger shared how she was introduced to 1 Million Cups in Tulsa, Oklahoma, only a few short years ago. What she saw there was the same thing she saw in front of her today:

“A beautiful room full of people like you who gave before they got, listened before they answered, and really want to be part of something bigger than themselves,” she said.

Wessinger is one part of the dynamic duo that supports much of the innovative, collaborative work being done between ESHIP Summits. Christine Lai serves in a similar role, working with National Resource Providers (NRPs), focusing on bringing her knowledge of grassroots community frameworks with her passion for diversity and inclusion.

“When we ecosystem builders foster community for ourselves, we create an environment where we can all thrive,” Wessinger says. “We interconnect and infuse a collaborative culture and mindset of abundance, which in turn, creates robust, prosperous communities.”