What Ecosystem Builders Want Most


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The goal of the ESHIP Summit 2017 was to advance the work of community leaders focused on a systematic and collaborative approach to fostering more entrepreneurial starts and successes in their area. To that end, attendees formed small groups around 12 common challenges for ecosystem builders, dubbed Missions, and developed initial concepts for new tools, trainings and shared understanding to help each other be more effective in their work on the final day of the Summit.

The ESHIP Summit group photo

In total, the groups dreamed up 38 ideas and resources for more effective ecosystem building, and three main needs emerged which will bring new clarity and focus to supporting ecosystem builders. Amanda West, ESHIP Summit Community Team member, discusses those key takeaways on Medium.

The 12 Challenges


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Explore each of the 12 challenges that the ecosystem builders tackled at the Summit in 2017:

  • Challenge 1: Set the Table | Why Ecosystem Building, and Why Now?
  • Challenge 2: Write the Vision | Defining the Ultimate End Goals of Ecosystem Building
  • Challenge 3: Create a Peer Network | Ecosystem Builders Connecting & Supporting Each Other Throughout the Year
  • Challenge 4: Connect the Resources | Establishing a National Network of Partners Supporting Ecosystem Builders

  • Challenge 5: What Do You Do? | Drafting a Job Description & Training Syllabus for Ecosystem Builders
  • Challenge 6: Structure for Success | Designing Sustainable Ecosystem Building Initiatives
  • Challenge 7: Engage the Whole | Unlock Talent by Connecting the Disconnected
  • Challenge 8: Bottom Up, Top Down, Outside In | Engaging Institutional Change-makers to Achieve Scale

  • Challenge 9: Recruit the Policymakers | Enlisting Government Leaders to Champion Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
  • Challenge 10: Connect the Capital | Matching Opportunities to the Right Resources
  • Challenge 11: Build Your Coalition | Encouraging Collaboration Among Entrepreneur Support Organizations
  • Challenge 12: Track Your Progress | Developing a Research Agenda for Measuring Ecosystem Building

Challenge 1: Set the Table

Why Ecosystem Building, and Why Now?


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The ESHIP Summit 2017 | Mission Brief #1 insight

 

Amanda West summarizes specific group discussions about how to best explain why ecosystem building has emerged as an important approach to economic development on Medium.

 

Ecosystem building is an emerging field at the convergence of two complex activities: economic development and cultural transformation.

In many ways, it may feel like a sharp departure from the conventional wisdom, cultural norms and strategies for the success of the Industrial Era.

For some, this is an exciting new way forward, and for others, a daunting shift away from what they know and count on. Our job as ecosystem builders is to clearly explain why ecosystem building is an important approach to economic development in a way that calms the natural fears of change and invites everyone to join in.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 1 [PDF] >

Challenge 3: Create a Peer Network

Ecosystem Builders Connecting & Supporting Each Other Throughout the Year


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Create a Peer Network insight | The ESHIP Summit 2017

 

Amanda West summarizes specific group discussions about how to create a national support network for ecosystem builders on Medium.

 

Many ecosystem builders feel isolated in this emerging field. Several program-specific professional networks exist including InBIA, Startup Champions Network, GAN, the National Urban League and AUTM, but no universal community has come together where ecosystem builders of all backgrounds, positions and perspectives can connect with a diverse set of peers to build relationships, share insights and support each other in an ongoing way.

We challenged a small group of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders to develop a workable plan to grow an authentic peer community for ecosystem builders everywhere.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 12 [PDF], Team 13 [PDF] and Team 14 [PDF] >

Challenge 4: Connect the Resources

Establishing a National Network of Partners Supporting Ecosystem Builders


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Connect the Resources | The ESHIP Summit 2017 | The Kauffman Foundation

A number of national and global organizations are providing ecosystem building resources to communities, but these organizations' leaders have not yet had the opportunity to connect or collaborate with each other.

Similarly, many ecosystem builders do not know about the growing number of resources available to help them support their communities.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 20 [PDF] >

Challenge 5: What Do You Do?

Drafting a Job Description & Training Syllabus for Ecosystem Builders


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What Do You Do? | The ESHIP Summit 2017 | Kauffman Foundation

As ecosystem building becomes a more widely adopted methodology for economic development, there is a growing need to standardize the role, qualifications and training of professional ecosystem builders.

This need presents a great opportunity to establish the fundamental set of core principles, values and skills for the profession.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 23 [PDF] and Team 24 [PDF] >

Challenge 6: Structure for Success

Designing Sustainable Ecosystem Building Initiatives


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Many ecosystem building organizations (EBOs) and initiatives are newly launched or informal efforts lacking sufficient funding.

To empower long-term ecosystem building efforts in communities of all sizes, geographies and demographics, there is a significant need to develop and share proven models for structuring EBOs and funding ecosystem building activities.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 31 [PDF] and Team 33 [PDF] >

Challenge 7: Engage the Whole

Unlock Talent by Connecting the Disconnected


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Engage the Whole | Mission #7 | ESHIP Summit 2017 | Kauffman Foundation

 

Amanda West summarizes specific group discussions about how to best engage and support entrepreneurs who are traditionally and systematically disconnected from economic prosperity on Medium.

 

Ecosystem building organizations are well-positioned to facilitate connections between disconnected citizens and the entrepreneurial opportunities available. This hands-on work of unlocking and connecting a community’s talent, capital, and other resources to sustain a healthy economy could directly result in the breaking down of longstanding systemic barriers, while also developing more successful entrepreneurs. However, many ecosystem builders are not engaging in this work due to limited time, fear, and uncertainty about where and how to start.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 34 [PDF], Team 35 [PDF], Team 36 [PDF], and Team 37 [PDF] >

Challenge 8: Bottom Up, Top Down, Outside In

Engaging Institutional Change-makers to Achieve Scale


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In many communities, grassroots ecosystem building efforts are disconnected from related institutional activity in the academic, government and corporate worlds. Grassroots leaders and institutional partners often see each other as too difficult to engage.

But while the gears of institutions can be big, slow and hard to turn, once you get them aligned with grassroots efforts and moving together, they can change the world.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 44 [PDF] >

Challenge 9: Recruit the Policymakers

Enlisting Government Leaders to Champion Entrepreneurial Ecosystems


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Recruit the Policymakers | The ESHIP Summit 2017 | Kauffman Foundation

State policymakers (i.e. governors, legislators, state bureaucrats) may possess little understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystems or what is needed to support the entrepreneurs within them.

However, government policy impacts local ecosystems in ways that can be beneficial or harmful, and many of policymakers are eager to understand and better support ecosystem success.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 45 [PDF], Team 46 [PDF] and Team 47 [PDF] >

Challenge 10: Connect the Capital

Matching Opportunities to the Right Resources


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Connect the Capital | The ESHIP Summit | Kauffman Foundation

Accelerating entrepreneurs' access to capital is central to most ecosystem builders' work. We know barriers stand between those seeking capital and those looking to provide it.

Further complicating matters, not all money is the same, and not every entrepreneur needs the same type of capital.

More needs to be done to improve access to all types of capital for all types of entrepreneurial ventures, regardless of industry, stage or geography.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 49 [PDF] >

Challenge 11: Build Your Coalition

Encouraging Collaboration Among Entrepreneur Support Organizations


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The Industrial Age brought great prosperity to many, and at the same time, created a culture based in competitive advantage and scarcity thinking. This culture has held back many communities, completely gridlocking some.

A growing number of ecosystem leaders are looking for different ways to collaborate across traditional silos and engage in a culture based in trust and abundance thinking. Still, true collaboration, even among people and organizations who share similar missions, is often very difficult.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 53 [PDF], Team 54 [PDF] and Team 55 [PDF] >

Challenge 12: Track Your Progress

Developing a Research Agenda for Measuring Ecosystem Building


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Track Your Progress | The ESHIP Summit 2017 | The Kauffman Foundation

As the field of ecosystem research is emerging, and many players are working on developing priorities to better understand ecosystem building and how to measure it, feedback from practitioners is invaluable.

Download the Mission Brief [PDF] >

Download the group work from Team 56 [PDF] >