Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
First published June 2019
Entrepreneurship is a powerful economic growth tool for the global and local economies. Over the last decade, an economic development practice called entrepreneurship ecosystem building has emerged. Entrepreneurship ecosystems leverage the connected resources of local communities to support entrepreneurs as they start and scale high-growth companies. In this strategy, local developers, known as ecosystem builders, work to build the capacity and connectedness of the entrepreneurship ecosystem to create faster local economic growth. Although this strategy has potential, it so far has appeared to lack emphasis on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in ecosystem building. Another issue is an apparent deficit in thought, research, and sharing of best practices around ecosystem building in communities of color.
This guide gives ecosystem builders and local developers an overview of key concepts and general recommendations on how to use entrepreneurship ecosystem building to develop high-growth entrepreneurship in communities of color. The information in this guide was compiled through conversations with industry leaders, prior research and current ecosystem builders who have designed and led successful inclusive ecosystem building strategies in communities of color. The guide has three main sections:
• SECTION I – Understanding Inclusive Entrepreneurship Ecosystems. This section describes why inclusive ecosystem building is important to local economic growth, particularly in communities of color.
• SECTION II – Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Communities of Color. This section discusses key concepts, programs, and processes that need to be in place to develop ecosystems in communities of color.
• SECTION III – Ecosystem Builders in Communities of Color. This section discusses the specific role key individuals who specifically are dedicated to building local ecosystems play in supporting ecosystem building in communities of color.