Ecosystems + Economies

Village Launch Builds Resilience Among Under-Resourced Entrepreneurs

As the City of Greenville, South Carolina experiences unprecedented growth, Village Launch ensures its more vulnerable populations aren’t left behind.

The city of Greenville is changing.

The South Carolina city is bringing in billions of dollars each year in investment, mostly brought in by high-profile economic development groups

April 30th, 2021|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies, Network|

Reaching Memphis’ Entrepreneurs: Epicenter Ensures Access for All

For many entrepreneurship hubs and economic development organizations, it can be surprisingly challenging to connect with the people they’re trying to help.

Epicenter Memphis faced this very problem—and their solution might surprise you.

Memphis, like many other American cities, has a bustling downtown. But there is often a disconnect between the […]

March 31st, 2021|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies, Network|

Are You Ready for the Next Entrepreneurship Surge?

We’re about to see a major boom in entrepreneurship.

Why are we so confident? There are a number of reasons people take the entrepreneurial leap of faith, and several of those factors are about to hit at the same time.

People start businesses after recessions.

First, we’re about to emerge from a recession. Technically, the COVID-19-related recession […]

March 31st, 2021|Ecosystems + Economies, Network|

Reinventing Economic Development: Creatives As Entrepreneurs

Seven years ago, leaders of an arts organization in Birmingham, Alabama saw a serious opportunity to impact their local economy—but it meant reinventing themselves.

Originally established in 2004 as the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, Create Birmingham is the only local agency focused on Birmingham’s creative industries. […]

February 24th, 2021|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies, Network|

Wheeling, West Virginia Made their Main Street Relevant with Entrepreneurship. Learn how Your Community can do the Same.

Read on to learn how Wheeling Heritage leveraged entrepreneurship to create more than 2,000 new jobs and reduce their building vacancy rate by half.

January 25th, 2021|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

The Businesses We Can Save

Let’s face the facts: COVID-19 has wrecked many small businesses. One of the saddest experiences of 2020 (aside from the sickness, heartbreak, and grief this pandemic has inflicted on us) has been walking along a street you used to know well—whether in a large city or a small town main street—and seeing the shutters. Craving a meal from […]

December 15th, 2020|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

From Florida to Colorado: Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Success Stories

On December 16th from 2:00-3:00 PM EST CO. STARTERS will host “Rethinking Economic Development: How SOAR is Training Entrepreneurs to Restart Eastern Kentucky”, a free webinar that will share how Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) is […]

December 8th, 2020|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

The Real Rebuilding Will Begin after the Election, and it Will Start with Entrepreneurs, Economic Developers, and Ecosystem Builders

Do you want your community and ecosystem to move beyond politics and toward a bigger, better, and more compelling vision for local economies? Here's how we can get there.

September 22nd, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies|

Entrepreneurs and Economic Developers Both Want to Make a Difference in their Community. Here are Practical Ways they Can Improve their Collaboration.

Learn five ways economic developers and entrepreneurs can work better together to improve their communities.

August 31st, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies|

Unsung Heroes of Ecosystem Building: Meet the Voices Championing “Universal Support”

We are proud to sponsor this edition of “Unsung Heroes,” a series spotlighting people who are growing the field of ecosystem building. Written by Anika Horn and Jeff Bennett, the series introduces each of the seven ESHIP Goals (a collaborative framework) through the perspectives of Champions who are spearheading initiatives within each […]

July 21st, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies|

Business and Entrepreneurship Will Play a Critical Role in Creating a Better World. Here’s How.

Business creation and entrepreneurial thinking will play a foundational role in ushering in an economy where each of us can become our best selves as we build a better world for others. This is how we start.

July 16th, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies|

Creating Connections for Struggling Businesses through the Refocus Workshop

How Pasco EDC's SMARTstart used the CO.STARTERS Refocus business recovery workshop to reach unsupported entrepreneurs in their community and connect them to vital support.

Our Economy Measures Success with the Wrong Metrics. Here is How We Should Measure Successful Economic Development

When we invest in local entrepreneurs who are building the social fabric and community health of their region, we soar toward the economy we need and the future we all want.

July 2nd, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies|

Our Economy is Moving from the Industrial Age to the Connected Age. Here is What that Really Means.

Developing a strong Connected Age economy depends on fostering homegrown entrepreneurial talent and connecting those entrepreneurs to mentors and other business leaders who are ready to reimagine their community.

June 18th, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies|

Serving the Underserved: The Commons on Champa // Denver, Colorado

From providing a tech hub to those without access to technology, to workshops designed to engage female entrepreneurs, to offering our very own CO.STARTERS Core program to the city, The Commons on Champa truly embodies the CO.STARTERS mission.

March 18th, 2020|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

Finding POSSIBLE: The CO.STARTERS 2019 Impact Story

The importance of our work with entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders is often hard to communicate. This year, when we put our annual report together, we tried to capture the deeper story between the numbers—of impact that is happening in lives and communities—to paint a picture of what is possible in any community.

Read the introduction to […]

March 11th, 2020|Ecosystems + Economies, News|

Addressing the Gaps: Auckland University of Technology // Auckland, New Zealand

Sabrina Nagel and the entrepreneurship team team at Auckland University of Technology are proving the value of CO.STARTERS for everyone—especially college students. Check out the work they’re doing.

March 3rd, 2020|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

Fighting for our Soldiers: Action Zone // Tampa, Florida

It can be extremely difficult for Veterans to find the support they need upon re-entering civilian life. Our friends at Action Zone are doing the incredible work of supplying the proper support and tools to this often overlooked demographic.

February 14th, 2020|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

Soul Care for the Ecosystem Builder

Shining a light on burnout among entrepreneurs and the people who support them

Burnout is not a new topic for the business world. The nature and risks of employee burnout have been extensively researched in relation to large corporations. Burnout among entrepreneurs has only recently started receiving more attention.

A recent […]

December 19th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Starter Support|

What is a Starter?

How changing our words might change the way we work with entrepreneurs.

By Enoch Elwell

Words are powerful, and they shape our perception of reality. But how much can the perception of one word impact the activities associated with it?

In recent years, the idea of entrepreneurship has become more popular than ever. There have been more and more news stories about entrepreneurship—celebrating […]

December 13th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies|

Give Big, Shop Small with 12 Days of Starters

Each year during the holiday season we look forward to putting our money where our mission is: helping communities thrive through entrepreneurship. The CO.STARTERS Holiday Gift Guide was created to celebrate the growing community of starters we are proud to support, and to help anyone shop local anywhere and leverage their holiday spending to support entrepreneurs and the […]

November 29th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies|

Navigating the Stages of Community Growth

A Model for Starting and Sustaining an Entrepreneurial Community

By Enoch Elwell

Entrepreneurial culture is changing

There’s something exciting afoot if you look through the negative national narrative on the decline of small cities and towns across the United States. Despite suffering significant economic loss which spawns a culture of grim survival, a growing number of communities are beginning to break […]

November 20th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Resource, Starter Support|

Supporting Latinx Entrepreneurs Means Building Relationships of Trust

The Latinx community in the U.S. is large and growing. As entrepreneur support organizations seek to support Spanish speakers starting new businesses, they need to understand that engaging this community effectively and respectfully may require some new ways of thinking.

November 6th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Starter Support|

Growing a Living Community

CO.STARTERS Summit Highlights Deepened Support for Entrepreneurial Leaders

Grassroots entrepreneurial leaders from across the U.S. came together October 2–4 for the fifth CO.STARTERS Summit, held in the organization’s hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The event was an opportunity for communities supported by the growing entrepreneurial network to connect in an intimate setting to celebrate five years of growth […]

October 17th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, News|

How to Have Difficult Conversations

Conversations about inclusion in ecosystem building can be difficult because they bring up issues that may become contentious and polarizing. In Part 2 of our series on Overlooked Aspects of Inclusion in Ecosystem Building, we have a conversation with author Meg Bolger about how the art of facilitation can make these conversations more effective and productive.

September 4th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Starter Support|

Challenging Underestimation Through Teenpreneurship: Y.E.S. // Dade City, Florida

“CO.STARTERS Generator was the only option left standing, given [my] needs for accessibility. The modular nature of Generator was especially appealing, and the bright, colorful layout of the binder was a bonus too.”

August 22nd, 2019|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

Innovation as Equity: Innovate Springfield // Springfield, Illinois

“CO.STARTERS has been great for us to meet our community where it is. We were running our own program before, and members who found the old program frustrating had their lightbulbs go off when they went through CO.STARTERS.” -Sarah Beth Ayers, Business Incubation Program Coordinator at Innovate Springfield

August 6th, 2019|Community Stories, Ecosystems + Economies|

It Takes a Village to Build an Ecosystem

Exploring the Many Roles of Ecosystem Building

By Enoch Elwell, CO.STARTERS Founder & Visionary

As the ecosystem building approach to economic and community development gains interest and credibility, the title of “ecosystem builder” has emerged to represent a specific type of community leader. This title signifies important distinctions in the intended outcomes as well as the type […]

July 26th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Resource, Starter Support|

ESHIP Year Three: From Inspiration to Action

More than half of our CO.STARTERS national team (8 out of 15!) just returned from the third annual ESHIP Summit in Kansas City a few weeks ago. ESHIP (short for “entrepreneurship”) is the Kauffman Foundation’s annual gathering of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders and marks a significant high point for CO.STARTERS and our activity each year.

Looking Back

June 18th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies|

Networks vs. Nodes: Developing New Business Models for the Connected Age

By Enoch Elwell, CO.STARTERS Founder & Visionary

As CO.STARTERS has worked as a leader in the emerging field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building—which is essentially about building dense networks of trust, both institutional and personal, to support entrepreneurs—we find our work positioned in the middle of a unique combination of players:

  • Grassroots leaders and local […]
May 22nd, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies|

New Resources from National Partners

CO.STARTERS is in a unique position, supporting starters with tools for launching, supporting grassroots leaders all over the country and around the world with curated resources and tools to build better community support systems for starters, and collaborating with national partners to encourage ecosystem building.

Here are a few new resources […]

March 29th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Starter Support|

Tips for Getting Starters Unstuck

By Enoch Elwell, CO.STARTERS Founder & Visionary

You spend a lot of your time helping new entrepreneurs get started, and you know this problem when you see it. An email pops up from a small business founder, asking you for more help with the same problem you talked about last week. They can’t seem to make any progress. You want […]

January 30th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies, Starter Support|

Putting Microlending into Practice: A Community Case Study

By Rich Bailey

Many small businesses believe that bank loans aren’t a viable financing option for them. However, there is a lesser known but well established option that is much more accessible — the microloan.

Lending in small […]

Proximity Space: How to Build Up Entrepreneurial Communities

Last month Enoch Elwell, CO.STARTERS Visionary and CEO, shared with the Proximity Space community about ecosystem building, the Chattanooga story, and the unique niche that CO.STARTERS has found to help and support communities to be their best.

Enoch explained how amid the cultural shift we are currently experiencing—moving from the industrial age to the age of connectivity—we are offered an abundance […]

January 8th, 2019|Ecosystems + Economies|

12 Days of Starters: Give the Gift of Small

Celebrate 12 Days of Starters, Nov. 24 through Dec. 5

CO.STARTERS celebrates starters this holiday season by urging everyone to shop small! Give the gift of small and shop local anywhere from the convenience of your couch while you leverage your holiday gift purchases to support starters and the communities they—and you!—call home.

Starting on Nov. 24, […]

November 23rd, 2018|Ecosystems + Economies|

Matchmaking for Ecosystem Builders

These days, CO.STARTERS is bubbling with new projects. We’re in the midst of a long-term shift from primarily supporting starters through programs to a broader mission of cultivating entrepreneurial ecosystems by connecting and empowering community builders with a wider spectrum of support. Ecosystems are the ground in which starters grow and are, in turn, shaped by starters as […]

October 25th, 2018|Ecosystems + Economies|

CO.STARTERS Sparks Connection Across New Zealand

By David Kraus

It all started in October, 2013 when Chorus, a New Zealand telecommunications company, launched a competition. Dubbed “Gigatown” as a nod to Chattanooga’s “Gig City” moniker, the competition challenged New Zealand cities to realize the potential of Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) technology for renewing the […]

June 26th, 2018|Ecosystems + Economies|

Sharing the CO.STARTERS Way with the Startup Champions Network

We believe that the work we do as the CO.STARTERS community goes much deeper than increasing the success of local businesses. As we work together with local starters, community leaders, governments, institutions, and state and national decision-makers, we have the opportunity to reframe the narrative regarding the role of business in society. Across the CO.STARTERS community, there are […]

April 30th, 2018|Ecosystems + Economies|

Identifying the Stages of Community Growth

A new type of entrepreneurial culture is springing up everywhere. By better understanding the stages of community growth, local leaders can be better equipped to capitalize on common trends. CO.STARTERS founder Enoch Elwell shares a model for growth built on decades of learnings from grassroots entrepreneurial communities.

February 26th, 2018|Ecosystems + Economies|

Shop Small Business, Shop CO.STARTERS

By David Kraus

Finally. The time has arrived for holiday music to flood through the ceiling speakers of  local shopping malls, unleashed from its eleven-month-long hibernation. And that means one thing–you have shopping to do.

It can be immensely difficult, especially during the holiday season, to peruse shelves and online catalogs without feeling like you’re buying into […]

December 12th, 2017|Ecosystems + Economies|

Our Common Vision

At this year’s CO.STARTERS Retreats, we conducted a visioning exercise aimed at getting to the heart of our work’s shared purpose. Participants were prompted to consider their community becoming a national success story for creating a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem by 2025. Working in pairs, then small groups, and then all together, we discussed and created a backstory for […]

October 30th, 2017|Ecosystems + Economies|

Why is CO.STARTERS Doing Retreats This Year?

Q & A with Enoch Elwell

Why is CO.STARTERS doing retreats this year instead of the normal Summit?

After going to countless conferences and summits over the years, I’ve found that the most lasting value from these events is the relationships formed with fellow attendees. The things that stick with me are the conversations in the hallways between sessions or in the […]

August 25th, 2017|Ecosystems + Economies|

A Look Back at the ESHIP Summit

In June, CO.STARTERS’s founder Enoch Elwell joined 400 community leaders from across the country for the inaugural ESHIP Summit in Kansas City. The ESHIP Summit is a 3-day gathering organized by the Kauffman Foundation, a leading philanthropic investor in entrepreneurship in the United States. The Summit was designed to […]

June 30th, 2017|Ecosystems + Economies|
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