As the field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building has started to grow over the last decade a few books dedicated exclusively to the topic have become valuable sources of information for ecosystem builders. Now there is a new book to add to the ecosystem building library — Creating Startup Junkies: Building Sustainable Venture Ecosystems in Unexpected Places by Jeff Amerine and Jeff Standridge.
Creating Startup Junkies focuses on the unique proposition of creating sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems in unexpected places — in the parts of the country sometimes referred to as the “flyover states.” Echoing the mantra of Rise of the Rest, these regions are well-positioned to create startup activity and strengthen their ecosystem through intentional cultivation of a collaborative culture, engagement with the community, and capitalization of early-stage ventures.
Many ecosystem builders may already be familiar with Amerine and Stanbridge through the Startup Junkies podcast. Their years of experience in business and leadership positions and through working at Startup Junkies Consulting and the Conductor in Arkansas position them as leading experts in the field of ecosystem building.
Jeff Amerine has held senior leadership positions in nine startups and three Fortune 500 companies, and he has made more than 90+ angel investments into new ventures and small businesses either directly or through the funds he manages.
Jeff Standridge has been an invited speaker, trainer and consultant for numerous companies, institutions and organizations across five continents. He is also a best-selling author of two books, “The Innovator’s Field Guide: Accelerators for Entrepreneurs, Innovators & Change Agents,” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide: Catalysts for Leaders, Innovators & All Who Aspire to Be.”
Creating Startup Junkies is a great addition to a strong list of ecosystem building books, alongside the likes of Startup Communities, The Startup Community Way, The Rainforest, and Beyond Collisions. It serves as a valuable, contemporary primer for those new to ecosystem building, covering what ecosystem building is, the main components of ecosystem building (what Amerine and Standridge call the Four Pillars), and why it’s important. But, most importantly, it dives into the ‘how’ of ecosystem building, outlining tips and guiding principles to help ecosystem builders be more successful and impactful.
While essentially focused on building entrepreneurial ecosystems in so-called ‘flyover states,’ the tips, insights, and best practices really apply to the work of ecosystem building anywhere. This quick read is full of great stories and examples along with practical tips and principles for effective entrepreneurial ecosystem building.
I suspect many ecosystem builders will find the final sections of the book the most rewarding. The final sections focus on leveraging best practices that discuss how to assess where a community is at in its efforts and covers programs, events, and principles that work. The book concludes with the Venture Ecosystem Building Canvas, a great tool to help ecosystem builders assess.
Creating Startup Junkies is a great primer not just for ecosystem builders getting started in the field, but also for civic leaders, community leaders, and business leaders who aren’t familiar with entrepreneurship and ecosystem building as economic development. We as an ecosystem building community need to do a better job of educating the public about entrepreneurship as economic development and Creating Startup Junkies is a great resource to help do that.
“There is no special training required to be a Startup Junkie. One only needs a passion for entrepreneurs, an innovative mindset, and a collaborative spirit. When these characteristics are paired with the four pillars of venture ecosystems – talent, culture, community engagement, and capital – startups are born and small businesses thrive. Chances are you’re already doing this important work in your community, and have not yet considered your contribution to the ecosystem.”
So, get yourself a copy of Creating Startup Junkies. It’s a great little pocket guide about ecosystem building and a must-have resource to add to the canon of ecosystem building.