On May 21-23, The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation hosted its third annual ESHIP Summit, a convening that brings together entrepreneurial ecosystem builders — leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship. This year, Next Street participated in the conference as a National Resource Provider (NRP). NRPs are a group of nearly 60 organizations that provide training, support programs and funding to entrepreneurial ecosystem builders..
Some of the key takeaways from the Summit include:
ESHIP Goals: Delivering on a shared vision
Building from prior Summits, Kauffman and the ESHIP community have developed seven priority goals for the field of ecosystem building (akin to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals). These goals serve as the foundation for ecosystem builders’ collective action. This year’s Summit focused on pivoting from the “Design” phase to “Deliver” for the seven goals and the thirty associated initiatives. Many attendees made commitments to drive these initiatives forward alongside Kauffman.
Unifying public and private sector ecosystem players
The third annual ESHIP Summit coincided with Kauffman’s Mayor’s Conference on Entrepreneurship, a gathering of mayors to encourage entrepreneurship activity. Given the overlap, Kauffman provided an opportunity for mayors and ecosystem builders to discuss public and private sector collaboration. In order to ensure successful adoption of ESHIP Goals nationally, it will be important to continually engage the public sector. The community will need to bring key participants like financial mainstream and large corporations to the table.
“No two ecosystems are the same”
Next Street led a presentation at this year’s Summit on shared and local challenges across ecosystems. We showcased our findings from the entrepreneurial ecosystem assessments we’ve completed in 15 cities and regions across the country. The presentation fostered a lively debate about some of local challenges which require tailored solutions built with local input. It will be important to ensure that the delivery of shared ESHIP initiatives are appropriately flexible to be adapted to what local communities need.
Nontraditional setup fostered greater collaboration
The Summit was designed to be unconventional. It was an opportunity for ecosystem builders to connect, share best practices, and collaborate to develop joint solutions for Kauffman’s ESHIP goals and initiatives.
The conference mantra of “Everything’s a Draft” epitomizes the iterative nature of these initiatives that will require continued collective action. The focus now turns to delivery of the 30 initiatives through pilots led by National Resource Providers (including Next Street) that turn conceptual initiatives to action.