Advancing the
Ecosystem Building Field of Practice

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The Ecosystem Building Leadership Project

is an initiative to collaboratively design, create, and validate a formal entity or shared infrastructure whose purpose is to provide leadership for the advancement of the entrepreneurship ecosystem building field of practice. Past ESHIP Summits and other inputs have made clear the need for more coordinated and centralized efforts to build field-wide infrastructure that will help accelerate wider understanding and adoption of ecosystem building as a practice in economic, community, workforce and entrepreneurship development in the United States.


Launched in 2017, the ESHIP Summit was a three-year initiative (2017-2020), designed to accelerate the adoption of ecosystem building as a new approach to entrepreneurship support and economic development. By bringing together builders of entrepreneurship ecosystems, the program was designed to take a community-driven approach to accelerate the emerging field of entrepreneurship ecosystem building. By working collaboratively across many organizations they aimed to create tools, resources, and knowledge to better support communities that are working to empower entrepreneurs.

This community of entrepreneurship ecosystem builders and the people who support them contributed to the development of The ESHIP Goals; a proposed set of collective objectives to further fortify the entrepreneurship ecosystem building field. The solutions to the ESHIP Goals are meant to serve as tenets to the field, and the goals themselves a checklist to help prioritize, organize, collaborate and create consensus, as we work together to improve the effectiveness of our emerging field as a whole, and as a result, the effectiveness of individual ecosystem builders everywhere.

Through this work to advance entrepreneurship ecosystem building as a practice, the need has been identified for a field-wide infrastructure (much of which is captured in the ESHIP Goals) that will centralize coordinated actions in service to the field. This will further accelerate wider understanding and adoption of ecosystem building as a practice in economic, community, workforce and entrepreneurship development in the United States. Thus, the Ecosystem Building Leadership Project launched.

Provisional Council

Dara Macan
National Director Partnerships & Engagement at SourceLink

Enoch Elwell
Founder & Board Chair at CO.STARTERS

Tarsha Hearns
Senior Director of Ecosystems at Dallas Entrepreneur Center

Julie Heath
VP Entrepreneurial Ecosystems at Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Tiffany Henry
Instructional Designer, Office of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Arkansas (Network Health)

Fay Horwitt
President & CEO at Forward Cities

Pava LaPere
Co-Founder & CEO at EcoMap (Sustainability)

Charles Ross
President & CEO at International Business Innovation Association

Beth Zimmer
Project Manager at Ecosystem Building Leadership Project

Project Support Team

(January 2022 - October 2022)

Charles Ross
Host & Co-Chair

Dell Gines

Kristin Leutz

Beth Zimmer
Project Lead

Charlton Cunningham
Communications Lead

Lindsay Schuenke
Coordination Lead

Jennifer Hunter

Jason Barnes

Ed Morrison

Scott Hutcheson

Dr. Brint Milward
Facilitator, Research

Collaborative Advisory Group

e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
Don Macke

Opportunity HUB
Rodney Sampson

Forward Cities
Fay Horwitt

Melissa Bradley

Black Innovation Alliance
Kelly Burton

Rob Williams

Krista Covey

Becky Corbin

Startup Champions Network
Tom Chapman

Enoch Elwell

Mark Lawrence

Urban Manufacturing Alliance
Katy Stanton

Angel Capital Association
Pat Gouhin

Comena 66
Denisse Rodriquez

Black Female Founders
Erin Horne McKinney

UF Innovate | Accelerate @ The Hub & Sid Martin BioTech
Karl LaPan

Aspen Institute's Latinos in Society City Learning & Action Lab Alejandro Manzanares

Augusto Sanabria

4th Economy
Rich Overmoyer

National League of Cities
Corianne Rice

Community Development Venture Capital Alliance
Kerwin Tesdell

Rural Rise
Tina Metzer

Andres Wydler

Jim Woodell & Co
Jim Woodell

University Economic Development Association
Margo Fliss

International Economic Development Council
Nathan Ohle

Global Accelerator Network
Patrick Riley

Entrepreneurship Funders Network
Ifeoma Aduba

GET Cities at Second Muse Foundation
Leslie Smith

Roanhorse Consulting
Vanessa Roanhorse

National Urban League
Stephanie Devane

Jen Consalvo & Frank Gruber

NRP Relations
Christine Lai

Value Web
Mike Fleisch

U.S. Small Business Administration
Jennifer Shieh

Institute for Work & the Economy
Peter Creticos

Field Survey

The Field Assessment Survey is crucial in helping us to understand the current needs, challenges, and aspirations from the field in order to inform the project's design. Information from this survey will help us to identify what is collectively needed to enable the success of the project.

Take The Survey

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