We are excited to announce that the 2020 ESHIP Summit will be held September 15-16, 2020 in a virtual format.

Given the still unfolding pandemic, this year’s Conference will look different than it ever has before. Not only will we be discussing new and relevant content, we’ll be exploring a different way to connect. 

Virtual collaboration is nothing new in the modern world, but because we understand the incredibly important call to action that we’re all faced with now, we must approach a virtual convening with clear goals and a hunger for change.

We hope to see you at the 2020 ESHIP Summit in Kansas City. Want to get on the invite list for the 2020 Summit? Please subscribe to our newsletter.

What Happens at the ESHIP Summit?

The ESHIP Summit is a convening that brings together entrepreneurial ecosystem builders — leaders connecting communities to accelerate entrepreneurship.

At the 2019 Summit we built on our work at past events to continue to push the emerging field of entrepreneurial ecosystem building forward, towards solutions to the ESHIP Goals a set of collective objectives for the field to prioritize, organize, and collaborate, as we work together.

We explored many existing ecosystem building tools some showcased publicly for the first time. This will include field-tested approaches to inclusive ecosystem building, best practices for fostering collaboration across a community,  measurement approaches for ecosystem metrics and more.

  • 50+ national resource organizations shared ecosystem building tools, programs and practices that participants could take back to their community.
  • We spent time working in small groups to activate more teams building new ecosystem building tools –  where solutions don’t yet exist.
  • We also collaborated to refining and building further consensus around the mission, values and vision of our emerging field.
  • All the while, connecting attendees to a growing national network of peers and resource providers who can help ecosystem builders move their own work forward.
  • We made lots of new friends supporting and learning about each other’s work.
  • And we ate good food while exploring the sights and sounds of Kansas City.

And, of course, there were a few fun surprise guests and activities that have become the hallmark of the ESHIP Summit.

If we can continue to come together to connect our ideas and work, we will establish the core aspects of our profession and fortify our field. This work can change the lives of entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders everywhere, strengthening their communities, and collectively making the world a more inclusive place.

How did we get here?

The ESHIP Summit program team is using a multi-year, three-stage process to discover, design and deliver the foundational pillars needed for the field of ecosystem building to gain widespread adoption.

At the 2017 Summit, 450 people came together to launch a discovery phase to explore the many needs of ecosystem builders across the nascent field.

At the 2018 Summit, 600 people came together to review those needs while refining them into a proposed framework to better organize our collective work – a framework that has come to be called the “ESHIP Goals.” The event also kicked-off and refine the ESHIP Goals  a year-long phase to design possible solutions for these needs.

This discovery and design process has involved hundreds of ecosystem building practitioners and has been led by the community itself. See the latest iteration of the draft ESHIP Goals.

At the 2019 Summit, 550 participants kicked-off a multi-year delivery process to begin to bring solutions to the  ESHIP Goals to life. We’ll work in small groups to further refine ideas, develop collaborations with national resource providers and funders and laid plans to launch some pilot projects that address the ESHIP Goals. During the event, small teams of participants explored ways to create:

  • More visible ecosystem builder training and accreditation
  • A database of tools
  • Stronger interlocking support networks
  • A repository of entrepreneur-friendly public policies
  • More effective approaches to ecosystem metrics
  • And more

We also spent time exploring hundreds of existing ecosystem building tools, many that are offered through the 50+ National Resource Provider (NRP) organizations that work to support ecosystem builders every day.

The Summit agendas optimize for peer-to-peer learning opportunities, relationship building and fun — with some speakers sprinkled in too. 

Our Shared Path Forward: The ESHIP Goals

Through three Summits, the ESHIP community has collectively identified 7 ESHIP Goals, and 30 prioritized proposed initiatives, to serve as a set of collective objectives for the field to prioritize, organize, and collaborate, as we work together to improve the effectiveness of our field as a whole and, as a result, the effectiveness of individual ecosystem builders everywhere.

Achieving these goals will strengthen our profession and accelerate its adoption in more communities — removing more barriers for more entrepreneurs throughout the world.

Who Should Attend the ESHIP Summit?

Attendees wear many different hats. You may be involved with:

  • Entrepreneurship and business ownership
  • Capital and investment or philanthropy
  • A large company or anchor institution
  • Universities, community colleges or K-12 education
  • Economic development
  • An entrepreneur support organization
  • Government, public office, research or media
  • Incubators, accelerators or coworking spaces and more

You should come to the ESHIP Summit if:

  • You have been trying to connect people and resources — and break down silos — in your entrepreneurial community.
  • You believe in inclusivity and equity.
  • You’ve been exploring new models for entrepreneur-led economic development.
  • You see how entrepreneurship and innovation can come from unexpected people and places.
  • You are frustrated with traditional tools for attracting and developing businesses.
  • You want to be part of the solution and have ideas to share.
  • You have a “give before you get” mentality.
  • You have a long-term view of community transformation.

The ESHIP Summit is Not a Place To:

  • Look for funding opportunities or sell things.
  • Focus only on networking.
  • Have side meetings with your usual crew.
  • Solve your own problems without being willing to help others.
  • Figure out how to get started with ecosystem building.
  • Expect all the answers to be handed to you.
  • Convince others that your model or method is the best.

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