The field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building and startup community building is growing. Though ecosystem building and entrepreneurship as an economic development strategy still don’t get the attention they deserve among policy makers, government leaders and the broader business world, amongst our own community, we’re getting more vocal and organized. The evidence? Check out these projects and resources I’ve come across in the last week.
At the latest ESHIP Summit on September 29, I sat in on a session led by Eric Parker and Grace Belangia; Funding Model Focus: Leveraging the Workforce Development System For Funding. Eric and Grace are ecosystem builders in Augusta, GA. In addition to their local work running The Clubhou.se, they’ve recently launched a new endeavor, Make Startups, an organization that helps accredit public and private sector organizations to ensure entrepreneur training standards and unlock funding to support their organizations and entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for a new and interesting funding idea for your ecosystem building work, check out Make Startups.
Make Startups Podcast
In addition to helping ecosystem builders unlock funding, Eric and Grace have launched a podcast to “explore the stories of founders, investors, philanthropists, and policy makers.” Though just freshly launched, the second episode features John Dearie, President at the Center for American Entrepreneurship and Co-Author of “Where the Jobs Are.” They discuss the importance of startups in America, the role of government, and of capitalism itself.
Black Innovation Alliance
Another session at the ESHIP Summit in September featured Erin Horne McKinney and Kelly Burton, co-founders of the new Black Innovation Alliance sharing the story of their new organization and seeking support for their mission. The Black Innovation Alliance (BIA) is a unifying body for innovator support organizations (ISOs) creating pathways to Black prosperity and empowerment through their support and development of founders, entrepreneurs, and creative technologists.
In the next 10 years, the Black Innovation Alliance intends to recruit and cultivate at least 500 organizations to support, fund, and sustain 1 Million Black innovators. By 2030, the Black Innovation Alliance aims to have secured $1 billion in support of our work. Their immediate goal is to raise the first $10 million by the end of 2020, to sustain the work required for the next 3 years. Check out their website to find out how you can help to support this fantastic new endeavor.
Black Women Tech Founders Report
“Black women are building, developing, and launching successful tech businesses, in spite of industry-wide divestment in their work.” They are the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs, building businesses in some of the fastest growing industries for startups that account for $5 trillion in global market value. These stats, along with an abundance of additional data, were recently published in the Black Women Tech Founders Report. The report goes on to say, Black women tech founders are highly concentrated in high-growth industries like education, financial, and health tech, and emerging industries like artificial intelligence/machine learning, clean energy, and wearables. Check out the report, The New Face of a Founder: Uncovering Black Women as the Next Billion Dollar Founders. (Hat tip to Anika Horn for sharing this!)
In her ongoing Fireside Chats series, Anika horn has been exploring the Seven Design Principles outlined in the Kauffman Foundation’s Ecosystem Building Playbook. In her recently released article covering principle #2, Foster Inclusive Conversations, Anika was joined by rock star ecosystem builders to explore the concept of creating serendipity—the concept where, in a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, emerging and established entrepreneurs run into each other without much planning thanks to various events and closely knit networks that create the serendipity needed for such “collisions.”