Taking collective responsibility for being a great place to start

What do we mean when we say "ecosystem?"

The word “ecosystem” is thrown around a lot these days. It acknowledges that certain problems are not solved from a top-down approach, that no one organization or program is a silver bullet. When it comes to entrepreneurship, we say “ecosystem” to acknowledge new businesses are often birthed from a complex and unpredictable web of relationships.

Ecosystems are messy. They morph and change. The needs of two years ago are not the needs of today, and we can bet the needs two years from now will be different. However, when you zoom out and look at a city—or region—through an entrepreneur’s point of view, that ecosystem has to answer one question…

“Can I make it here?”

Start Garden exists to look at our region as a whole and continually work on the gaps and barriers to getting new businesses started.

It’s not about launching a one-size-fits-all solution, focusing on one silo or one type of entrepreneur. It’s an immersion into a continually shifting landscape to align physical, social, financial and intellectual infrastructure around the needs of people launching businesses.

Entrepreneurial Infrastructure

Infrastructure is not just physical work space. It's a spectrum of physical, social, financial and intellectual assets that interconnect to make a culture of starting things.

Here are some of the questions we ask at Start Garden...

PHYSICAL | What are the physical spaces or events that make it easy for entrepreneurs to launch new things and meet new people? What new platforms are needed to make opportunity more accessible? For instance, would the tide of new restaurant entrepreneurs rise if there was a shared commissary kitchen for food trucks?

SOCIAL | Because our natural tendency is to group with others like us, when does relational familiarity turn into a wall for those trying get something started? Which events or engagements are intentional about crossing those silos and birthing unexpected relationships?

FINANCIAL | Venture capital, banking and philanthropy have traditionally served three different audiences. When combined in creative ways, they can dramatically lower the barrier for a new entrepreneneur and open up opportunity for communities to invest.

INTELLECTUAL | The first thing one might think of is a formal institution, like a university, when asked about the intellectual capital of a region.  We also consider what kind of access new entreprenuers have to the established business community and to founders that have built businesses from the ground up.

Our Community

Learn about what makes this community a particularly unusual place to accomplish great things.

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