Foundational Infrastructure for Entrepreneurial Communities
In the last few years, my home state of Nebraska undertook strategic visioning. Our good friend and serial entrepreneur Jim Jenkins chaired the Entrepreneurship Industry Council as part of Blueprint Nebraska. Jim and his Council members traveled our physically large and diverse state seeking input on how the state could improve the entrepreneurial ecosystem for entrepreneurs. One of the loudest messages received was the lack of transparency and access to available resources. Bottom line, too many entrepreneurs were giving up seeking assistance when they needed it because it took too much time and energy to find resources that are present in our ecosystem. Jim’s group recommended SourceLink to the Governor, State Chamber of Commerce and others. Cathy Lang with the University of Nebraska Business Development Center has since embraced SourceLink and is standing up SourceLink Nebraska.

Today, SourceLink has almost 60 affiliates and more than 100 deployments of its core technologies in urban core, rural, county and even statewide and regional applications. The affiliated network stretches from Sacramento to San Juan and a great many places in-between. Most impressively has been its expansion to entrepreneurship-adjacent economic development sectors like talent and youth development, broadband, affordable housing, and healthcare.

Our paper, SourceLink - Infrastructure for Entrepreneurial Ecosystems, highlights SourceLink's development history and the secrets to its success as an innovative platform connecting community resources to its entrepreneurs. I had the pleasure of interviewing Maria Meyers and Kate Hodel, SourceLink founders and authors of the book, Beyond Collisions: How to Build Your Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, for our Pathways to Rural Prosperity podcast. Don't miss these opportunities to learn how to bring transparency and efficient access to your community's entrepreneurial resources!
Don Macke
Other e2 News
Don Macke Reading Recommendation. Recently I finished the book Rural Rebellion by Ross Benes. Mr. Benes grew up in Brainard, Nebraska (2019 population 420) and now calls New York City home. In Rural Rebellion Benes provides a very thoughtful journey between his two homes – one very rural and politically conservative and another the most urban and possibly liberal in America. As we all search to find common grounds and narrow what divides us, this book is on par with J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy. If you care about these topics, this is a recommended read. (University of Kansas Press, 2021, ISBN 9780700630455).
Field News
Entrepreneurship in Economic Crises: A Look at Four Recession Periods between 1978 and 2018 in the United States. In this paper, the Kauffman Foundation looks at the four most recent recessions to explore what happens to entrepreneurs during the recovery period. One particularly interesting finding is that job creation by startup firms is stable during recessions. New firms and jobs post-recession rise, though the number of startup and young firms is lower.

Study to explore rural communities and inequality in the U.S. Researchers at Cornell University are launching a study to examine rural local governments’ financial information as a means to understand the relationship between local government, state policies, and economic development and with particular emphasis on understanding inequality by place, gender, and race.

Puzzlingly Divergent Trends in Household Wealth and Business Formation. Analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City finds that prior experience starting a business is a greater indicator of likelihood to do so than household wealth or other characteristics. The authors note that this dynamic could be self-perpetuating, but additional research is needed.

Center for Rural Innovation (CORI) Initiative Cohort. Enrollment is open for the Fall 2021 cohort where CORI works with rural leaders across the country and helps them develop place-based, actionable strategies that support scalable entrepreneurship and tech job creation. The upcoming cohort will have 4 scholarships available for rural communities of color and communities committed to ensuring their economic development efforts are inclusive, equitable, and serve local BIPOC populations. More Info.

Help households sign up for Emergency Broadband Benefit. Millions of American households now may apply for help to pay for computers and home internet service through the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program. The $3.4 billion program, which launched May 12, provides eligible households up to $50 a month ($75 for households on tribal lands) toward a home internet subscription and a $100 discount toward a computer. Learn more.

Access to Funding: The Right Kind of Capital Everywhere. For too many, capital isn’t accessible. Start Us Up has created a funding policy guide to share with policymakers.
Annual summit September 22-23
This year there will be an in-person option, a virtual (live stream) option, and a connect-only option with early bird ticket available now. e2 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and NetWork Kansas will be in Keane, NH to present sessions during the entrepreneurship track. Don't miss this event!