Calling All Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builders! What Skills Fuel Your Leadership?

Being an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem builder combines an understanding of the factors shaping your community (people, services, support, capital, talent-flow, policies, culture, market, etc.) and how you lead your ecosystem building efforts. 

Currently, we are defining an ecosystem builder as someone who takes a systems-wide approach and thinks about the impact on the whole network of people, programs, and resources in the community. An ecosystem builder looks at the gaps and creates new resources and collaborations to fill those gaps. 

After significant literature review, conversations, and surveys with the community, we are now exploring the how. We have identified nine skills below that have surfaced as key drivers in this new style of leadership emerging at the intersection of business development, community building, venture development, and economic development. We are now seeking real world examples to bring these skills to life!

Do you have a great story or example of a time when you or another ecosystem builder used the skills listed below in your work?

Please share your stories with us by February 12th.  We will feature some of these stories in upcoming Kauffman newsletters, and the next Ecosystem Builder Playbook that will be released at the 2020 ESHIP Summit.

Use the form below and submit a brief story (or two) about yourself or another ecosystem builder you admire.

Share Your Success Stories

At this time, here are the nine essential skills that we are looking for stories and examples of:

  1. Systems Thinking – Ability to see the big picture. To take a holistic approach, see the underlying systemic structures at play, understand how complex social and environmental issues are all connected, and use this to inform more effective change strategies.  

  2. Unwavering Attention to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Ability to understand how to work across significant differences, cultivate empathy and navigate power dynamics between people.

  3. Avid Learner- Ability to foster continuous learning, inquiry, and reflection within themselves as well as spaces for collaborative learning with others.

  4. Collaboration -  Ability to build trust and relationships, to leverage and align resources in order to create shared outcomes and mutual benefit.

  5. Empowerment/Servant Leadership - Ability to show humility, empower others, and lead by serving others, rather than accruing power, control or taking the spotlight.

  6. Vision & Aspiration- Capability to help foster vision, imagination, and aspiration for the future. Helping the community identify a shared dream.

  7. Listening & Communication - Open, curious, and receptive to unique points of view. Ability to facilitate conversations and utilize communication skills that show where common interests lie and explore points of view distinct from their own.

  8. Resilience - Capacity for resilience, showing persistence, and dedication with the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness, patience, grit.

  9. Results-oriented - Ability to focus on results, measuring where possible, experimenting, analyzing change, demonstrating progress and building on small wins.

Any examples come to mind? We would love to hear them! 

Share Your Success Stories

In community,

Lauren Higgins
Program Officer, Entrepreneurship
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation



Andy Stoll
Senior Program Officer, Entrepreneurship
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Please ‘Save the Date’ for the next ESHIP Summit, June 29th-July 2nd, 2020 in Kansas City!

Kauffman Foundation
4801 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110-2046

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