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

Key Terms

Commercialization: The process of bringing a business idea, product, or process to market.

Entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals either on their own or inside organizations pursue opportunities/ideas without regard to the resources they currently control. (Stevenson, Roberts & Grousbeck, 1989) In Giannantonio, C.M. & Hursley-Hanson, A.E. 2016).
(From the Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Building Playbook)

Economic Development: The work to “create the conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life by expanding the capacity of individuals, firms, and communities to maximize the use of their talents and skills to support innovation, lower transaction costs, and responsibly produce and trade valuable goods and services.” (From the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration)

Ecosystem Builders: Individuals who focus their work on building a system of support and resources for entrepreneurs in their communities or industries.

Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: A network of people supporting entrepreneurs, and the culture of trust and collaboration that allows them to interact successfully. The speed at which talent, information, and resources move through the ecosystem can affect entrepreneurs at each stage in their lifecycle.

Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs): Organizations—both non-profit or for profit—that provide resources, tools, training, platforms, and convenings etc. for entrepreneurs in their community. Some ESOs—for instance, Small Business Development Centers—are mainly focused on entrepreneurship, while others—a regional university, for instance—may have a much broader mission, but as long as at least some of its activity is support entrepreneurship, it is considered an ESO.

Entrepreneurs: The makers, doers, and dreamers in our society. People who create businesses, solve problems, and help communities thrive at any scale.

Invention: The creation/discovery of a new idea.

Innovation: A novel approach or idea that creates value. (One way to think of this is considering the formula “innovation = invention * (times) commercialization.”)

Innovation-Driven-Entrepreneurship:  entities that create or harness innovation and to build businesses that aim for global markets and exponential growth. (E.g., Apple)

Inclusive Economy: An economy “in which there is expanded opportunity for more broadly shared prosperity especially for those facing the greatest barriers to advancing their well-being.”
(From the Rockefeller Foundation, Inclusive Economy Indicators)

National Resource Providers (NRPs): Organizations that provide training, programs, and funding to ecosystem builders across the U.S. and beyond.

Small Business: The U.S. Small Business Administration defines a small business as “an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. “For the industry-level definitions of small business used in government programs and contracting, (see www.sba.gov/content/smallbusiness-size-standards from the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy)

SME: Small and Medium Enterprise, businesses that serve a local market, often services, generally owner-controlled, regionally based. (E.g., your local pizzeria).

Traded Sector: Businesses which work in a competitive environment and provide products or services that are sold across a broad geographic area (statewide, national, or international).

Have we missed anything in this list of ecosystem definitions? Do you have something you’d like to share? 

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