What are 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.

Watch: "ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Victor Hwang" | 11:55

The ESHIP Goals


The ESHIP Goals (ESHIP Summit 2018)

Read additional background information and descriptions of the ESHIP Goals. If you’d like to get involved with work on one (or more) of the goals or have a project you think is related, you can join the more than 200 builders that have already rolled up their sleeves by selecting your goal of interest below.

Goal 1: Inclusive Field

Goal 2: Collaborative Culture

Goal 3: Shared Vision

Goal 4: Connected Networks

Goal 5: Quantified Methods

Goal 6: Universal Support

Goal 7: Sustainable Work

View all of The ESHIP Goals [PDF] >

ESHIP Goal 1: Inclusive Field


The ESHIP Goal 1: Inclusive Fields

Ecosystem builders have a unique opportunity to reverse the growing wealth gap in our country. Current economic development approaches largely exclude significant portions of our population. As professional change agents, system thinkers, and resource providers, ecosystem builders are well positioned to see the hidden structural barriers that perpetuate disconnection, segregation, and isolation – and to remove them.

However, we need diverse voices at the table and leading the way to effectively remove barriers for all entrepreneurs. Our leadership must include ecosystem builders from all walks of life, all parts of communities, and all kinds of regions, both nationally and globally. Together, we can develop and distribute the insights and effective practices needed to support more diverse entrepreneurs and to help more ecosystem builders lead inclusive change efforts in their own organizations and communities.

With an inclusive ecosystem building field, we can model the change we want to see in the world, disrupt the status quo, and help build a new economic system that allows us all to realize our full potential.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 1: Inclusive Field >

ESHIP Goal 2: Collaborative Culture


The ESHIP Goal 2: Collaborative Culture

As ecosystem builders, we know that innovation thrives in a culture built on trust, and People + Culture = Everything.

Cultural divides, however, are already emerging within our field. These divides begin with concerns about resource scarcity and lead to skepticism and disconnection, preventing us from working together to advance stronger ecosystem building practices. We must see beyond our own ideas, organizations, sectors, and communities, and reach out to support and partner with others who share our dedication to helping entrepreneurs.

Together, we can expand the ecosystem building community, foster more trust, create open dialogue, and share resources. These efforts will establish a more collaborative culture throughout the field – they will help us all break down silos, achieve our shared goals, and remove more barriers facing entrepreneurs.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 2: Collaborative Culture >

ESHIP Goal 3: Shared Vision


The ESHIP Goal 3: Shared Vision

As the innovators of ecosystem building, you are developing a new profession.

In this endeavor, many of us are creating new concepts and vocabulary and discovering new applications and possibilities for our work. While we share similar aspirations to help entrepreneurs, we often find collaboration with each other challenging because our desired outcomes and our terminologies are nuanced and different. Even key terms, such as entrepreneur, early-stage, small business, and ecosystem building, have different meanings for different people and organizations within our field.

Strong collaboration will require alignment on our desired outcomes for ecosystem building and a common vocabulary for this work. We must build consensus on these cornerstones of our profession to facilitate communication and collaboration within the field and make ecosystem building practices more accessible to the broader community.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 3: Shared Vision >

ESHIP Goal 4: Connected Networks


The ESHIP Goal 4: Connected Networks

More collaboration within the field will require more communication across our networks.

A number of national resource providers – including many at the ESHIP Summit – are building strong networks of ecosystem builders, most often organized vertically around core ecosystem functions, such as investing, incubation, acceleration, tech transfer, coworking, economic and community development, and community building. in addition to connecting vertically with peers, ecosystem builders and national resource providers need to connect more horizontally – and even diagonally – across the field to leverage the full range of perspectives, insights, and opportunities available in our profession.

To create more and better information sharing, relationship building, and real-time partnership formation between the various ecosystem builder networks, we must pave the way with field-wide communication channels and other collaborative infrastructure. This infrastructure could take many forms, including a national resource directory, online community platforms, collaborative working groups, collaboration convenings, and/or media channels such as newsletters, peer-reviewed journals, or other publications.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 4: Connected Networks >

ESHIP Goal 5: Quantified Methods


The ESHIP Goal 5: Quantified Methods

The science behind entrepreneurial ecosystem building is emerging, but the field is still in its early stages and remains short on evidence-based methodologies and metrics for success.

Research on effective practices requires robust data, but the ecosystem building process is complex. Its nonlinear, multidimensional solutions are difficult to track with common economic development measures, especially in the short term.

New metrics and a shared research agenda that capture the early work of ecosystem building would allow for rigorous data collection and faster feedback loops. Ecosystem builders and researchers could use data to identify the most effective strategies and tactics and to better inform their communities about the effectiveness of their work.

Ultimately, a shared system of metrics and measurement, coupled with new collaborative research agendas focused on developing evidence-based ecosystem building methodologies, would allow us to determine the most impactful principles and practices to enable entrepreneurship at scale.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 5: Quantified Methods >

ESHIP Goal 6: Universal Support


The ESHIP Goal 6: Universal Support

A thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem is championed by leaders throughout the community.

However, many potential advocates – including leaders of government, educational institutions, major nonprofits, and the broader business community – do not understand the value of entrepreneurship to society, the limitations of our current economic development model, or the barriers to economic opportunity that large portions of our population face. Even fewer have been exposed to entrepreneurial ecosystems and the value they bring.

We need to bring this understanding to respected public advocates from across the regional, national, and global landscape to facilitate their engagement with more entrepreneurs and ecosystems. To gain their support and participation, we must develop a stronger narrative and a more consistent engagement strategy that communicates the importance of entrepreneurship and ecosystem building in terms that resonate with more external stakeholders.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 6: Universal Support >

ESHIP Goal 7: Sustainable Work


The ESHIP Goal 7: Sustainable Work

Entrepreneurial ecosystem building requires perseverance.

The work is arduous and often ambiguous, and it can take 20 years to see concrete results. Many practitioners – including grassroots organizers and change agents within large institutions – operate without adequate training, funding, or recognition of their work as a professional endeavor. In this void, they must often rely on their instincts, personal support systems, and ad hoc revenue streams. While dedication powers many of them to continue, practitioners across the field are burning out.

To sustain the work of ecosystem building, we must equip our practitioners for the long haul with a professional job description, training programs, ongoing peer support, and sustainable funding models. Together, we can ensure that ecosystem builders from all types of organizations have the professional recognition and resources they need to nurture this work and give it the time it requires to achieve results.

Pledge your commitment to ESHIP Goal 7: Sustainable Work >

Solving for the Goals through mass collaboration


A central theme at the 2018 Summit: How do we solve for the ESHIP Goals – and accelerate the emergence of the field of ecosystem building?

As ecosystem builders, we know that innovation thrives in dense networks of people, built on a culture of trust, collaboration, and helping each other. It is through collaboratively working to solve for the ESHIP Goals that we can build the necessary networks and collaborative culture to accelerate our collective work. Cultural divides, however, are already emerging in our nascent field. These divides begin with concerns about resource scarcity and lead to skepticism and disconnection, preventing us from working together.

We must see beyond our own ideas, organizations, sectors and communities, and reach out to support and partner with others who share our dedication to helping entrepreneurs. A mass collaboration around the ESHIP Goals is needed to find solutions to our field’s complex needs – in short, none of us is as powerful as all of us.

Watch: "ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Fabian Pfortmüller" | 17:41

Roundtable work


To help our community explore the complexity of the goals and kick-start collaboration across the field around achieving them, we embedded Roundtable activities into the Summit.

These roundtables served as the catalyst to forming distinct groups to tackle each of the seven goals. Instead of focusing on helping individual ecosystem builders, the aim of the roundtable work was to help the field as a whole, which will in turn support the individuals.

We believe individual ecosystem builders need support, and we know that other organizations already focus on convening to help ecosystem builders. The Roundtables were a chance to roll up our sleeves and get to know the goals better, while thinking about the comprehensive approach that solutions will require.