Creating Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
in Rural Communities
Ewing Marion Kauffman was known to advise that “…if you want to help an entrepreneur, you have to be entrepreneurial yourself.” Over 20 years ago Jay Kayne, then with the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, impressed this concept firmly in my mind. It made sense then and makes sense now.
More recently, Andy Stoll with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation made an equally important statement: “entrepreneurial talent is universal, entrepreneurial ecosystems are not.” Based on decades of field work across North America, I believe Andy has this one right as well. Today’s embrace of entrepreneurial ecosystem building is profoundly important to the future success of communities large and small across our country.
This past May, the Kauffman Foundation and its national resource partners hosted another Eship Summit. The first summit focused on “discovery,” the second summit focused on “design,” and this third summit focused on “delivery.” Throughout this process the Kauffman Foundation and numerous partners have curated an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook 3.0. Seven goals and numerous action items have evolved through this open-sourced and collaborative process: Inclusive Field; Collaborative Culture; Shared Vision; Connected Networks; Practical Metrics and Methods; Universal Support; and Sustainable Work. 
Our mission at e2 is rural entrepreneurship. We believe in entrepreneur ecosystem building as foundational, particularly for our nation’s smaller communities. Our book, Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities: A Pathway to Prosperity, provides a framework for rural community ecosystem building. We explore America’s longest running statewide rural ecosystem building initiative in the NetWork Kansas case study:  Creating Entrepreneurial Communities in Kansas: Listening, Learning, Adapting. These works embody the Kauffman entrepreneurial ecosystem building goals and provide context for executable strategies for rural communities.

Make time this summer to study the Playbook and add these materials to your reading list!
Don Macke
REVing up Entrepreneurship - new Podcast
Listen to Don Macke and Pam Bishop, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, talk about the e2 framework used to energize entrepreneurs in six southern Minnesota communities in this free podcast as part of a series, Vital Connections on Air, produced by the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality.
Working group focused on rural community prosperity
The Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (IANR) launched a working group to identify ways that the university can better support the state’s rural communities. Don Macke has been appointed as convener of the working group on behalf of the Nebraska Extension Community Vitality Initiative. For more information on the working group, click the IANR news release.
Field News
Few state job creation grants go to rural Montana. Here’s why. Montana’s job creation grant program designed to help externally traded companies grow is showing evidence of an imbalance between impact in urban and rural areas. Officials say this is in part due to a lack of applications from rural areas, as well as a natural tendency for job growth to occur in thriving areas. Read more.

United States: Growing The Talent Pipeline For Rural Investment. In this blog post by Duff & Phelps managing director, Gregory Burkart, a 4-step process is suggested to evaluate local labor markets and align that to business attraction. While this focuses on site selection by outside firms, principles could be used to develop local entrepreneurship as well.

Fall economic gardening certification. Training classes are set for Sept. 23-25 in Colorado through the National Center for Economic Gardening .
Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations
Hosted by the Kansas Association of Community Foundations. Don Macke, along with Imagene Harris, Network Kansas and Tim Penny, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, will present "The Community Foundation and Entrepreneurship Connection," Oct. 27-29, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri.
NREDA 2019 Annual Conference
The National Rural Economic Developers Association annual conference is Nov. 6-9, 2019 in Kansas City, Missouri. Don Macke is presenting at the conference.