Free Resources & Strategies for Higher Ed Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building. The C•CUBE Toolkit from UWO & Venn Collaborative sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation

C•CCUBE Values

When we began development of C•CUBE, we discussed the values upon which we would build the toolkit. Following are the values that have guided toolkit development. We found it a helpful exercise for creating the resources you’ll find here, and we encourage you to work with your ecosystem partners to define your ecosystem’s values to help ground your ecosystem building efforts.

We believe in collaboration and conversation:

  • The Power of Collaboration — We wholeheartedly believe in the transformative power of collaboration. It’s not merely a means to an end; it’s a positive force that propels ecosystem development forward.
  • Conversations that Foster Change — Ecosystems are built upon conversations that transcend boundaries, weaving networks that drive meaningful change. Through open dialogue and shared knowledge, we cultivate the seeds of innovation.

We believe that ecosystem development is community development:

  • The Essence of Social Entrepreneurship — We see social entrepreneurship as a cornerstone for constructing strong and equitable communities. In our vision, entrepreneurial ecosystems are synonymous with community development.
  • Prosperity for All — Our commitment to higher education lies in its potential to create prosperity that benefits the entire community, addressing economic disparities and empowering individuals.

We believe that promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is key to ecosystem development:

  • DEIB’s Transformative Power — We champion the intentional efforts of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) as catalysts for ecosystem improvement. These principles not only help ecosystems thrive but also enable businesses and communities to flourish while ensuring the equitable distribution of innovation’s benefits.

We believe ecosystems are networks of networks:

  • No Singular Leadership — We understand that no single entity can lead an ecosystem. Thus, our ecosystem development values are not defined by one-size-fits-all goals. Instead, ecosystems evolve and cater to diverse goals based on perspectives and network positioning.
  • Leveraging Network Effects — We harness the network effects that amplify and propagate change. Platforms, whether physical or digital, and their associated communities serve as conduits for creating and nurturing the connections that drive progress.
  • National Support — National organizations play a pivotal role in supporting and amplifying these network effects, reinforcing the collaborative spirit of ecosystem building.

We believe innovation fuels ecosystems and economic growth:

  • R&D’s Transformative Potential — We see the transformative potential of higher education’s research and development, fueling technology-based economic growth and driving improvements across a myriad of societal dimensions.

We believe that adopting an ecosystem mindset and perspective is at the core of building successful collaborations.

  • Roles and Value Beyond Boundaries — We believe in the multifaceted roles and value that both higher education and external stakeholders bring to the table. Breaking free from siloed thinking, we work together to overcome barriers and create thriving ecosystems.
  • Foundational Trust — Trust is the cornerstone of successful ecosystem development. In an environment of mutual trust, collaboration thrives, and communities flourish.

We believe that college and university assets are invaluable to ecosystems:

  • Recognizing Inherent Value — We hold a deep belief in the intrinsic value of colleges and universities as pillars of knowledge, innovation, and community engagement. The core activities of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and outreach and engagement form the bedrock of our commitment to ecosystem building.
  • Investment with Multi-fold Returns — We firmly assert that the investment of time and effort required to seamlessly integrate colleges and universities into entrepreneurial ecosystems yields dividends that multiply many times over. These institutions bring intellectual capital, research excellence, and a wealth of resources that enrich and propel the ecosystem to new heights.
  • Elevating Impact — By harnessing the full potential of these invaluable assets, we not only elevate the impact of entrepreneurial ecosystems but also foster a culture of lifelong learning, discovery, and community engagement that reverberates far beyond the bounds of academia.

Have we missed anything in this discussion of core values for ecosystems? Do you have something you’d like to share? 

circle of people holding their hands together in the center, photographed from below