Programming will run each day within the hours of 10AM – 5PM US Central Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours) with a mix of plenaries, interactive sessions and small group conversation. Speakers will continue to be announced and shared as they are confirmed.

Day one will explore the current state of the entrepreneurial economy and the impacts of the historical global shifts that have been exposed and exacerbated by the COVID-19. We’ll get an introduction to entrepreneurial ecosystem building and you’ll have the opportunity to interact with fellow Summit participants.

Please note, times are listed in US Central Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). Timing may be subject to change.

10:00 AM CST – 10:45 AM CST | Virtual Platform Orientation & Help Desk (optional)

10:30 AM CST – 11:00 AM CST | Morning Music (optional)

Exploring The State of Entrepreneurship In Our Changing World
11:00 AM CST – 12:45 PM CST | Plenary 1

We’ll explore the current state of entrepreneurship and economic development and the impacts of structural racism, disconnected networks, and COVID-19 on our communities. We’ll consider the impacts of the current crisis and the possibilities ahead for our communities to rebuild better.

12:45 PM CST – 1:15 PM CST | Break and Connecting

1:15 PM CST – 2:15 PM CST | Small Group Discussions
Join fellow participants from your region in guided small group discussions.

2:15 PM CST – 2:30 PM CST | Break and Connecting

An Introduction To Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building
2:30 PM CST – 3:30 PM CST | Plenary 2

We’ll take a high-level look at entrepreneurial ecosystem building as a practice and better understand how it differs from traditional approaches to economic, community and venture development. We’ll explore how we build more inclusive and equitable ecosystems and the role of community collaboration in entrepreneurial success.

3:30 PM CST – 3:45 PM CST | Break and Connecting

3:45 PM CST – 4:30 PM CST | Campfire Discussion
Join fellow participants from your sector in guided small group discussions.

4:30 PM CST – 5:00 PM CST|  Social Hour (optional)

Day two will dig deeper into the key elements of entrepreneurial ecosystem building and we’ll explore ecosystem building stories from communities of all sizes. You’ll have the opportunity to work with others from your regions to apply some of your learnings after the Summit.

Please note, times are listed in US Central Daylight time (UTC/GMT -5 hours). Timing may be subject to change.

10:00 AM CST – 11:00 AM CST | Wellness & Meditation (optional)

10:00 AM CST – 11:00 AM CST | Coffee & Connect (optional)

A Deeper Dive Into Ecosystem Building & Systems Leadership
11:00 AM CST – 11:45 AM CST | Plenary 3

We’ll discuss the current state of entrepreneurial ecosystem building, and learn more about systems leadership.

11:45 AM CST – 12:00 PM CST | Break and Connecting

12:00 PM CST – 12:30 PM CST | Networking Lunch
Join fellow participants from your region in guided small group discussions.

12:30 PM CST – 1:00 PM CST | Browse The Resource Expo


  • [Midwest] How to Support the B.E.S.T. Businesses for Local Economic Growth
  • [Puerto Rico] Building Resilience: How To Adapt Learnings From One Crisis To Another
  • [Michigan] How A Philanthropy-led Ecosystem Effort + Startup Space Met The Challenge of COVID-19 Head On
  • [Buffalo, NY] Growing Buffalo’s Startup Community from 0 to 5,000 Members in 18 months.
  • [Upstate South Carolina] Connect, Learn, Empower: Creating an Ecosystem of Trust Across 10 Counties
  • [Pikesville & Redwing] How Rural Ecosystem Builders are Supporting Economic Growth and Entrepreneurship During COVID-19

1:45 PM CST – 2:00 PM CST | Break 


  • Stories of Cross Sector Collaboration In A COVID-19 Crisis
    • [Cook County] Collaborating Across the Ecosystem On A COVID-19 Response
    • [Mesa, AZ] How to Build a Citywide, Inclusive Digital Platform for Entrepreneurs — in 30 days.
  • Stories of Building Equitable & Inclusion Ecosystems for Entrepreneurs of Color
    • [Grand Rapids, MI] The Necessity of Shared Leadership for Equitable Outcomes
    • The Role of The Public Sector In Creating Economic Growth By Supporting Businesses of Color
  • [Danville, VA] How a Small Town’s Leadership Built a Tech-Based Ecosystem In a Rural Community
  • [Kansas City] ESHIP Communities: An Emerging Approach to Building Equitable Ecosystems
  • [Manizales Maz, Colombia] Scale Up Ecosystems for Economic Growth
  • [Ord, NE] How Hardship, Leadership, Philanthropy and a 20 Vision Built An Entrepreneurial Community
  • Stories From The Public & Private Sectors in Minnesota
    • [Minnesota] A Statewide Public-Private Collaboration To Connect and Support The Ecosystem
    • [Minneapolis/St. Paul] Building a Regional Startup Coalition From the Bottom-Up

2:45 PM CST – 3:00 PM CST | Break 


  • [Columbus, OH] A City-Sponsored Effort To Spark A Community-Led Ecosystem
  • [Wake County, NC] Ecosystem Building In A Box With Your Community College
  • [Durham & Kansas City] Borrowing Tools from Public Libraries to Build Equitable Ecosystems
  • Stories of Ecosystem Building For Manufacturers, Makers and Artists in a COVID-Impacted World
    • [Baltimore, Pittsburgh & San Fran] Building “Made In” Brands For Local Makers & Manufacturing Ecosystems
    • [New Mexico] IndigiExchange: An Online Marketplace that Supports a Work, Learn & Earn Model for Native Entrepreneurs
  • [Cincinnati] Creating A Unifying Voice For A Diverse Ecosystem
  • [North Alabama] Shoals Shift: Fostering Community Collaboration Using Strategic Doing

3:45 PM CST – 4:00 PM CST | Break and Connecting

A Declaration of Interdependence
4:00 PM CST – 4:30 PM CST | Plenary 4
For our closing plenary, we will wrap up day two by exploring actions you can take today to build your community’s ecosystem.

4:30 PM CST – 4:40 PM CST | Break and Connecting

4:40 PM CST – 5:00 PM CST | Campfire Discussions
Join fellow participants from your region in guided small group discussions and sense making.

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM CST

Two weeks later, the event transitions from activities in local communities to developing the professional field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building. Over the last three years, the ESHIP Summit has brought together people who want to contribute to the acceleration of the professional field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building, centered around a framework called the ESHIP GoalsOn day three, you will:

  • Hear updates on new developments around the ESHIP Goals
  • Engage in small group conversations around core aspects of the developing professional field
  • Be invited to get involved

Those who are new to the ESHIP Summit will have the opportunity to attend a pre-conference orientation–date and timing to be announced–bringing them up to speed on the work that has been done over the years around the ESHIP Goals and the growing professional field of ecosystem building.

The ESHIP Summit community includes national and global resource providers that provide training, support programs and funding to those building entrepreneurial ecosystems. More than 70 of these organizations have participated in past ESHIP Summits, including:

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