About the ESHIP Summit

The ESHIP Summit is a multi-year initiative designed to bring early adopters of ecosystem building together to think about — and collaboratively create — the programs, practices and policies that the field needs to more effectively do the work of creating communities that empower entrepreneurs.

Starting in 2017, the Kauffman Foundation, in collaboration with more than 850 ecosystem builders and 50+ national resource providers (NRPs) that support them, have taken up the charge to accelerate the emerging field through a process to discover, design and deliver the foundational pillars needed for the field of ecosystem building to gain widespread adoption.

No one can do this alone. No single individual or organization can build the field. Only through mass collaboration across many practitioners, communities and support organizations, can we build the programs, policies and practices needed to make ecosystem building a more effective approach to economic and community development.

Learn more about what has happened at the ESHIP Summit in year’s past. 

Zero Barriers

Entrepreneurs drive progress.

Entrepreneurship empowers individuals, improves standards of living throughout a community, and creates jobs, wealth, and innovation in the economy.

But, there is a growing entrepreneurial deficit.

Despite the increasing interest in entrepreneurship, the reality is that we are in the midst of a decades-long decline in entrepreneurial activity in the U.S., exacerbated by barriers facing often under-resourced populations.

We need zero barriers to startup.

The Kauffman Foundation’s “Zero Barriers” movement is a collaborative, nationwide effort to eliminate large and small barriers to new business creation and reverse the long-term decline in entrepreneurship.

Kauffman is working alongside entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, policymakers and researchers to help develop solutions and empower more entrepreneurs to pursue their ambitions.

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to turn an idea into an economic reality, regardless of who you are or where you’re from, with zero barriers in the way.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem builders remove these barriers by helping to foster the environments in which entrepreneurs thrive.

What Attendees Have to Say

Why Ecosystem Building?

We need stronger and more inclusive ecosystems.

We believe that entrepreneurial ecosystem building — creating communities that empower entrepreneurs — is the best way to grow economies.

Entrepreneurship can flourish in local communities when people and resources are well-connected. Ecosystem builders build these bridges to cultivate system-wide support for entrepreneurs.

This new emerging approach to economic development can reach more people — including those who face systemic barriers to entrepreneurship.

Ecosystem builders face barriers too.

Many early adopters of the field of entrepreneurial ecosystem have begun developing practices and tools to work more effectively, but a field has not yet coalesced around desired outcomes, a shared toolkit, or a pathway to develop ecosystem building approaches and metrics that we can all use.

Today, most ecosystem builders are doing their work in custom and bespoke ways – often in isolation – and operating without data-driven approaches or places to turn for help. With little public support or understanding, many ecosystem building practitioners grapple with burnout as they work with small budgets and face a lack of understanding of their efforts.

Ecosystem Building is an emerging field.

Over the past two decades, ecosystem building has emerged as a nascent field and is poised to become a mainstream approach to economic development. But without widespread consensus and collaboration about the fundamentals of what ecosystem building is, this approach will remain a niche activity – or, perhaps, fizzle and fade away.

Let’s build our field, together.

Want to stay in the loop?
Sign Up for our Newsletter

We value your privacy. We never send you any spam or pass your information to 3rd parties.