Last year I wrote an article recognizing Emerging Storytellers in the Ecosystem Builder Community – our ecosystem builder peers who are consistently creating and sharing content about ecosystem building, whether that be through written articles, podcasts, or videos.
But that article felt incomplete to me because it didn’t recognize many other ecosystem builders who are doing a great job of storytelling, but who focus on telling the story of their entrepreneurs in their communities, rather than ecosystem builders at the field level. It’s a subtle difference—distinguishing between storytelling about ecosystem builders at the field level and storytelling about entrepreneurs in an ecosystem at the local level—but it’s one I wanted to make for that particular article.
Now, I want to highlight communities that are doing a great job telling the stories of their entrepreneurs and their particular ecosystem. I already knew of several that are doing a fantastic job like, Rick Turoczy in Portland, Steven Rodriguez in D.C., Startland News, Silicon Prairie News, and a few others. But I knew there were more, so I reached out to get feedback from the community to find more. And, the community obliged.
I agree with Ryan Lilly that failure to tell stories of your community’s entrepreneurs is one of the five biggest errors in entrepreneur ecosystem building:
“We have to get better at telling our own stories. Maybe that means starting a startup news organization in your community. Or it could be more simple, like writing a blog article or doing a Facebook Live video about a new startup in your town. But you have to start getting the word out!” ~ Ryan Lilly
With that in mind, here are several ecosystem builders and organizations doing an exemplary job of telling the stories of their entrepreneurs and communities, through written articles, social media, or podcasts.
Rick Turoczy covers all of the news in the Portland startup community, writing and sharing copiously in his blog The Silicon Florist and though his PIE (Portland Incubator Experiment) newsletter. Portland also has a directory and storytelling platform for entrepreneurs of color, using freelance writers from all of the different communities.
Steven Rodriguez’ New Majority campaigns on social media for 1863 Ventures are a great example of ecosystem builders showcasing and sharing stories of underserved and under recognized entrepreneurs. Check out 1863 Ventures’ Instagram feed to see examples and inspiration! Also, check out the backstory on this project, Reframing the Entrepreneurship Narrative through Stories of the New Majority.
In a recent Zoom group call I learned about the incredible work that has gone into creating the InGoodCoDetroit campaign. Developed by Skidmore Studios, InGoodCoDetroit tells the stories of Detroit’s entrepreneurs through inspirational videos, podcasts, and features.
Kansas City, Missouri
A couple of individual ecosystem builders and organizations in Kansas City received high endorsement form several people. Adam Arredondo and Matthew Marcus at Startland News and KC Sourcelink both received high praise for their sharing of entrepreneurs’ stories in KC.
My own journey to becoming an ecosystem builder got started with the StartupSac website, where we’ve been sharing stories of Sacramento’s startup founders since 2016.
Santa Cruz, California
In Santa Cruz, California, Sara Isenberg produces Santa Cruz Tech Beat the go-to source for all things tech in the Monterey Bay Region.
St. Louis, Missouri
Tampa Bay, Florida
In Tampa Bay, Florida, Allie Felix and Embarc Collective were recognized for their work in sharing the stories of startup team members in Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg “who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.”
Ecosystem Builders in Baltimore gave a shout out to Naomi Shay at Baltimore SourceLink. Naomi produces a video each month featuring a local entrepreneur.
Richmond was recognized for several local efforts. According to Anika Horn, “Kelli Lemon is more of a community builder but she runs Coffee with Strangers, that features entrepreneurs and awesome people in Richmond.” Anika also recommended B Side Collective and its focus on female entrepreneurs.
Fort Worth Texas
The Innovate Fort Worth Podcast in Fort Worth, Texas shares the stories of the city’s leading innovators, entrepreneurs and investors as well as highlighting the resources available to bring ideas to market.
Since 2016, Clay & Milk has been covering and connecting the Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem, producing stories about the entrepreneurs, artists, startups, makers and trends that are shaping the present and future of the state’s economy.
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota Starting Up North tells stories, shares insights and provokes interest in the innovation that goes on in Minnesota and surrounding communities.
In Atlanta, Hypepotamus showcases the founders, students, innovators, companies, and investors that are proud to call the Southeast home. It generates awareness about the Southeast’s innovation community, featuring startup and technology news, interviews, events, job listings, and resources. We
Maine Startups Insider is a online news startup created by Whit Richardson, a journalist who has covered Maine’s business community for the past decade.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, Teknovation shares stories of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in Tennessee.
In Northwest Arkansas, The University of Arkansas and groups like Startup Junkies are transforming a retail hub into an entrepreneurial powerhouse and telling the stories on the Startup Junkies podcast.
New Haven, Connecticut
According to Anthony A., in New Haven, Connecticut, “the New Haven Independent does a great job of covering the whole city, to the point where the locals feel as if they always know about new small businesses opening or trying to open. They’re a huge asset to ecosystem builders in the community.”
In Humanoids of Huntsville, the Urban Engine team captures the stories of people in their networks and the unique ways our programs and resources have made a difference in their entrepreneurial journey.
In Goodyear Arizona, The Innovation Hub promotes their entrepreneurs’ success stories through a partnership with their local newspaper in a series of articles and interviews, on their website through a ‘Biz Buzz’ page, through social media, and in their monthly InFocus magazine which is mailed monthly to every resident. As if that weren’t enough, they will soon begin a collection of posters in the library, each poster featuring an entrepreneur’s progress and participation in their programs!
Multiple Midwest Cities
In 2008, Jeff Slobotski began documenting his travel to creative communities across the US on his blog, Midwest to Manhattan. Later that year he joined up with Dusty Davidson, and they launched Silicon Prairie News to highlight entrepreneurs and creatives in their own backyard.
The Urban Engine Podcast
The Urban Engine Podcast, discuss entrepreneurship and success, interviewing local entrepreneurs in Alabama and the South, discussing how to succeed, and how to propel ideas forward.
A few online platforms have emerged over the years that provide communities a ready solution to share their community’s stories.
In multiple cities across the United States, communities are using American Inno as a platform to share the city’s innovation stories. As of this writing, communities on the American Inno platform include: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Colorado, DC, Minneapolis, North Texas, Rhode Island, Richmond, Tampa Bay, and Wisconsin.
Another multi-city platform where you can find communities sharing their entrepreneurs stories is Technical.ly. As of this writing, communities on theTechnical.ly platform include: Philly, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Delaware, Washington D.C.
Seed Spot has been telling the stories of the entrepreneurs in its programs since 2012.
The Autentico podcast empowers and showcases bilingual Latinx professionals and small business owners by creating a platform in which to share our stories and lessons learned.
Down under in Australia, Kerry Anderson shares positive stories of rural businesses and communities on her blog.
Also in Australia, Adam Spencer is sharing the stories of Australian startups and the organizations that support them on welcometodayone.com.
Thanks to input from friends and the ecosystem building community for helping to surface these examples. I’m sure we’ve missed some, so if you know of any we’ve missed, please leave a comment so that we can recognize them as well.
Want to tell the stories of your entrepreneurs and ecosystem but not sure how or where to get started? Check out, 10 Tips for Using Storytelling in Ecosystem Building.