“If you are committed to building inclusive innovation ecosystems, this is an incredible community of thought partners and potential collaborators.” – 2017 ESHIP Attendee

What Happens at the ESHIP Summit?

Join us for the 2018 ESHIP Summit. It’s a convening that brings together entrepreneurial ecosystem builders — leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship.

Launched in 2017, the ESHIP Summit is a three-year initiative. It’s designed to bring together builders of entrepreneurial ecosystems. That way, we can collaboratively create tools, resources and knowledge to better support communities that empower makers, doers and dreamers.

Your work starts at this year’s Summit and continues for the year that follows. You will work in small teams to address key issues facing ecosystem builders, by:

  • Helping each other advance the work in our communities.
  • Authoring the ecosystem building vision, value proposition and vocabulary for this emerging field.
  • Creating interlocking networks of ecosystem building professionals and the national resource organizations who support them.
  • Better defining ecosystem building metrics and outcomes.
  • Developing approaches to engage all stakeholders in a community.
  • Sharing examples of effective ecosystem building strategies.

You Will Leave the Summit With:

  • Ideas, programs and tools that you can take back and implement in your community.
  • New connections and collaborations that can help move your ecosystem building work forward — including deeper connections with other diverse ecosystem builders in your region.
  • Learnings from early stage playbooks, case studies and ecosystem building research.
  • Education and training opportunities to address equity, inclusion and diversity issues in your ecosystem.
  • More awareness of national resources available to help in your work.
  • A bigger-picture view of the ecosystem building field and opportunities to author and advance the national ecosystem building community.

Why is Ecosystem Building Important for Communities?

Too many are left out of our economy. Research has shown the connection between the long-term decline in entrepreneurship and its effect on productivity and growth. Lackluster productivity drags down wages and living standards, leaving many out of the economy. Entrepreneurship is the key to reversing this trend.

The ESHIP Summit aims to create a unified, national movement of entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders who work to infuse entrepreneurship into economic development.

Each Summit, and the work in between, is an opportunity to celebrate — and accelerate — rapid community-transformation through entrepreneurial ecosystem building.

Ecosystem building is gaining momentum and a professional field is emerging, but common and agreed-upon approaches are still needed. Early adopters have helped frame the field, but there is much more work to do.

The ESHIP Summit brings these early adopters together to work on actionable plans to remove barriers to entrepreneurship, including:

  • insufficient, ineffective and siloed entrepreneurial support
  • an unsupportive and risk-averse culture
  • inaccessible and inequitable resource distribution
  • limited talent pipelines

By working together, we can remove these barriers to entrepreneurship and better understand how to build thriving ecosystems and inspire more inclusive economic development across the nation and around the world.

How Do I Know if the ESHIP Summit is for Me?

  • You’ve been doing this work for years and take a collaborative, inclusive, system-wide approach to fostering entrepreneurship.
  • You are eager to work with people who might look, talk, act and think differently from you — knowing the secrets to creativity lie in diverse teams and divergent viewpoints.
  • You take a holistic and collaborative approach to building support systems for entrepreneurs.
  • You are ready to come and contribute your ideas, talent, tools and success stories to advance the field of ecosystem building.
  • You work every day to transform your community and increase its capacity for change.

Who Should Attend the ESHIP Summit?

In 2017, 450 people from 48 states and 10 countries attended the first ESHIP Summit. Attendees wear many different hats. You may be involved with:

  • Entrepreneurship and business ownership
  • Capital and investment or philanthropy
  • A large company or anchor institution
  • Universities, community colleges or K-12 education
  • Economic development
  • An entrepreneur support organization
  • Government, public office, research or media
  • Incubators, accelerators or coworking spaces and more

You should come to the ESHIP Summit if:

  • You have been trying to connect people and resources — and break down silos — in your entrepreneurial community.
  • You believe in inclusivity and equity.
  • You’ve been exploring new models for entrepreneur-led economic development.
  • You see how entrepreneurship and innovation can come from unexpected people and places.
  • You are frustrated with traditional tools for attracting and developing businesses.
  • You want to be part of the solution and have ideas to share.
  • You have a “give before you get” mentality.
  • You have a long-term view of community transformation.

The ESHIP Summit is Not a Place To:

  • Get introduced to entrepreneurship development for the first time.
  • Look for funding opportunities or sell things.
  • Focus only on networking and what you can gain.
  • Try to get answers to your specific problems, without helping others with theirs.
  • Expect all the answers to be handed to you.

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