Ecosystem Builders: Liaison-Animateurs!

Ecosystem Builders: Liaison-Animateurs?




What differentiates ecosystem builders? Are great entrepreneurial ecosystems truly built bottom-up,

entrepreneur-led as Brad Feld (2012), Startup Genome (2018) and others argue persuasively? Given the

near-absolute policy dominance of the triple helix and clusters before that, a focus on the inherent

connectivity of ecosystems is imperative. In particular, the practitioner community argues for the

centrality of connecting and thus connectors. This project is part of a larger effort to understand the

nature of the critical connectors in entrepreneurial communities. The Ewing Marion Kauffman

Foundation and others argue that a new profession has arisen, that of the “ecosystem builder” (e.g.,

2017, 2018). Implicit in this is a belief that ecosystem builders are inherently more entrepreneurial. We

thus seek here to characterize ecosystem builders on multiple dimensions as to knowledge, skills and

beliefs, on critical behaviors, and on the entrepreneurial mindset.


At the just-completed Growing Entrepreneurial Communities summit, it was clear that we need to

devote more energy to supporting connectors, especially the “super connectors” who seem crucial to the

growth of entrepreneurial communities. We heard the exact same call from the delegates to the Ewing

Marion Kauffman Foundation’s global ESHIP summit of ecosystem builders. But to support them, we

need a much deeper, richer understanding of what they do and who they are.

Norris Krueger
Presentation Date: 
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Event or Conference: 
KWBA 2018
Presentation Type: 
Paper Presentation
Boyer's Domain: 
Presentation Attachment(s): 
Presentation Location: 
United States