Unsung Hero Spotlight: Kim Louis

Kim Louis

To you, what is an Ecosystem Builder?

A person who connects the initiatives that otherwise would not have collaborated in a way that they can support and raise each other in their entrepreneurial journeys.

What motivates you as an ecosystem builder?

I am passionate about seeing people achieve what they are on earth to do!

What is the most successful/impactful program/event/thing you do/have done in your ecosystem?

I am an invisible cheerleader. I support people so they can shine. I win because they win. There’s a Chinese poem that says:

Go to the people
Live with them
Learn from them
Love them
Start with what they know
Build on what they have
And of the best leaders
When their task is complete
The people will remark
“We have done it ourselves.”

I see this over and over again in my work with youth and my work with entrepreneurs and it fills me with joy!

What is the biggest challenge you face as an Ecosystem Builder?

It’s challenging to confront negativity. I want to call out what’s best in others, not focus on what’s wrong.

What is your biggest frustration as an ecosystem builder?

I get frustrated when people won’t collaborate.

What ecosystem building skill/knowledge do you want to gain?

I hope to gain more understanding of cultural differences and how they influence an entrepreneurs decisions.

What are the most important things that need to happen to advance the field of ecosystem building?

Reconciliation… It is hard to trust others because of past hurts. In order to build an equitable ecosystem, there needs to be trust. Trust comes when we reconcile our differences.

What others are saying about Kim

Kim has in so many ways emerged as the great connector of New Kensington.  She has worked tirelessly for the past few years developing relationships with all types of stakeholders to try and solve a myriad of problems.  In the last year, she has lead an effort to connect the New Kensington ecosystem through a number of pilots aimed to help both entrepreneurs who are looking to connect to resources and those not participating the workforce to have greater connection to opportunity.  She leveraged a Carnegie Mellon program to work on a central communication hub to better inform town residents of opportunities to both areas.  She also convinced a wary group of stakeholders to try the Co.Starters program, managing to win over even the most cynical critics, and helping to establish it as a staple program being delivered in their community.  She knows no quit and continuously puts the interests of others ahead of her own.


Anika Horn

Anika Horn is an ecosystem builder for social change, social enterprise advisor and storyteller. She is on a mission to equip ecosystem builders with the insights, resources and community to lead fulfilling lives and purpose-driven careers. Learn more about her work at SocialVenturers.com and AnikaHorn.com.

Ecosystem Builder
Featured Original Content

Help Grow the Field of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building

Join a collaborative effort to design, create, and validate the advancement of the entrepreneurship ecosystem building field of practice. A small, but growing number of people are turning to entrepreneurial ecosystem building as a strategy to build more inclusive and resilient economies. For years, the leading standard bearer in this nascent movement was the Kauffman […]

Read More
Ecosystem Building Leadership Project Launch
Featured Original Content Press Release

A National Project to Advance Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building

Leaders Across Thirty Plus National Entrepreneurship Support Organizations Come Together to Advance the Field of Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Building An initiative has launched to advance the entrepreneurship ecosystem building field of practice, hosted by the International Business Innovation Associate (InBIA), with funding and support by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Ecosystem Building Leadership Project (EBLP) […]

Read More
Cultivating a Practice of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ecosystem Building Programs
Inclusion & Diversity Inclusive Field Insights from the Field Original Content

Cultivating a Practice of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Ecosystem Building Programs

Cultivating a culture and practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has become a core principle for entrepreneurial ecosystem builders. As part of the Insights from the Field campaign, I wanted to hear from other ecosystem builders in the field about their approaches to DEI, and hopefully identify specific techniques that they’ve incorporated in their […]

Read More