Burton D. Morgan Foundation is committed to its role as an entrepreneurship ecosystem builder for Northeast Ohio. Ecosystems provide the connective tissue that helps support entrepreneurs on their journey, relying upon partnerships, pathways, communication, and an array of players focused on different avenues of support for entrepreneurs. Within our Northeast Ohio region, Morgan Foundation supports sub-ecosystems that focus on K-12 youth entrepreneurship and collegiate entrepreneurship connecting the programs and influencers to each other and to the larger regional ecosystem.
Each ecosystem must grow from and be tailored to its own geographic location and culture. Daniel Isenberg, founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, has said “[t]here is no one driver of an entrepreneurship ecosystem because by definition an ecosystem is a dynamic, self-regulating network of many different types of actors. In every entrepreneurship hotspot, there are important connectors and influencers who may not be entrepreneurs themselves.”
Philanthropy has become one of those important players in building the capacity of local ecosystems. Philanthropic funding of entrepreneurship is fueled by collaborative efforts among funders seeking to understand the field, be vocal advocates, and collaborate around shared goals. Philanthropy is just one of the influencers working collaboratively with entrepreneurs, creative professionals, investors, mayors, city council members, media, university leaders, policy makers, community developers, and corporate executives. Ecosystem building is developing its own professional profile giving identity to a field that is at the leading edge of a movement to support entrepreneurs and their ventures.