For ecosystem builders by ecosystem builders


The ESHIP Summit is an annual convening that brings together entrepreneurial ecosystem builders – leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship. This page captures some of the highlights from the second ESHIP Summit, held July 11-13, 2018, in Kansas City, Missouri.

Launched in 2017, the ESHIP Summit is a three-year initiative 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.

At the 2018 Summit, we welcomed 620 ecosystem builders – including 121 U.S. mayors – from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and 10 countries. Half of the delegation identified as women and one-third as individuals of color.

Attendees helped catalogue 633 ecosystem building tools and resources and dreamed up a wish list of 412 tools they’d like to see created in the future. The Summit featured 74 presenters and one updated draft version of the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook. Attendees also further refined a set of collective goals to help fortify the emerging field. Read on and learn more.

Watch: "ESHIP Summit 2018 Kickoff: Navigating the Fog" | 10:06

Get inspired


Each ESHIP Summit, and the work in between, is part of a multi-year effort to accelerate – and celebrate – a new emerging model for economic and community transformation, through the fortification of more inclusive entrepreneurial communities. The work you are doing as ecosystem builders and entrepreneurs – your successes, challenges, lessons, and tools – are what these Summits are about. We opened the 2018 Summit with a look at why the Kauffman Foundation is hosting these events, where we are as a community, and why it is is important for us to come together to help more entrepreneurs, in more places, own their own destinies.

Watch: "ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Wendy Guillies" | 9:20

Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation, addresses the mayors attending the Mayors Conference on Entrepreneurship, and the ecosystem builders attending the ESHIP Summit in Kansas City, Missouri: "Even though we have different roles and we might [approach] our work from a little different perspective, at the end of the day, we're really all aimed at the same thing, and that is helping to create and nurture more vibrant, inclusive, entrepreneurial communities."

Watch: "ESHIP Summit 2018 Firestarter: Miriam Rivera" | 21:40

In a self-reflection on the importance of inclusive and collaborative ecosystems on her path in life, Miriam Rivera, managing director at Ulu Ventures and an early member of the Google executive team, shares her entrepreneurial journey from being an "at-risk" child living in Chicago to creating her own venture capital firm.

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