To you, what is an Ecosystem Builder?
An Ecosystem Builder is connector, convener, listener, problem solver. They work towards creating an environment where entrepreneurs can start and grow businesses with the resources they need to be successful.
What motivates you as an ecosystem builder?
Entrepreneurs are brave, risk-takers who are creating products and services that can impact our lives. As an Ecosystem Builder, if I can provide a resource, connection, or work towards reducing a barrier that can help them on their entrepreneurial journey, that motivates me to make more connections, and grow a network of resources that can be impactful for entrepreneurs.
What is the most successful/impactful program/event/thing you do/have done in your ecosystem?
In my role, I serve as the national organizer for Global Entrepreneurship Week in the United States. GEW is the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship. It takes place for one week each November in over 170 countries. Tens of thousands of activities take place and highlight ways ecosystems are supporting entrepreneurship, but also exposes individuals to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. The hope is the connections made and resources discovered during GEW will continue long past the one week and make a lasting impact on someone’s entrepreneurial journey. This year, I identified volunteers to serve State Coordinators and Community Organizers. These roles allow individuals to take a leadership role in planning GEW campaigns and galvanizing participation from their states and ecosystems. By creating this nationwide network of State Coordinators and Community Organizers, it enables ecosystem builders to connect to other communities they otherwise may not have connected with, and possible plan a GEW activity with. I look forward to seeing the collaborations and creative activities they will come up with to support entrepreneurship.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an Ecosystem Builder?
My biggest challenge is that I am not responsible for knowing about just one ecosystem, but about ecosystems across the United States. Each ecosystem is different and constantly changing in terms assets and challenges. It is important for me to keep in contact with ecosystem builders in states across the country and entrepreneurship trends to make sure I can provide the best support in my position.
What is your biggest frustration as an ecosystem builder?
My biggest frustration I encounter is silos in ecosystems. In an ecosystem, there should be multiple ESOs, coworking spaces, incubators/accelerators, investors, etc.communicating about the resources they have to support entrepreneurs. I often find that they don’t always work together throughout the year due to competition. While I understand competition, the goal is to be working together to provide an ecosystem with all the resources necessary for a startup to start and grow. Silos breakdown the flow of information between actors in an ecosystem and in turn, more difficult for an entrepreneur to navigate.
What ecosystem building skill/knowledge do you want to gain?
I would like to be able to collect better metrics on entrepreneurship trends that are happening across the U.S., so that I can seek out resources that directly correlate to those trends.
What are the most important things that need to happen to advance the field of ecosystem building?
To advance the field, ecosystem building/development needs to be better defined as a role/career path and recognized as a crucial element of economic development.
How can we support you?
Please keep sharing stories of ecosystem builders and the work they are doing. Not only does it raise awareness for the field, but it enables us to learn from each other.