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

Cultivate and Scaffold

Nurturing Supportive Conditions

Contexts & Environment theme and the Developing stage

Nestled at the intersection of the Contexts & Environment theme and the Developing stage, “Cultivate and Scaffold” plays a pivotal role in shaping the external conditions that influence entrepreneurial ecosystems. This topic involves the deliberate cultivation of an environment conducive to entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth.

When ecosystem stakeholders and partners, including colleges and universities, work together to cultivate and scaffold the ecosystem, they create the conditions necessary for the ecosystem to grow and thrive:

  • Fostering Growth: Cultivating supportive conditions is essential for fostering the growth of entrepreneurial ventures. These conditions encompass a range of factors, including access to funding, mentorship, infrastructure, and a culture that encourages risk-taking and innovation.
  • Ecosystem Resilience: By scaffolding the ecosystem, builders can enhance its resilience to external shocks and changes. A strong foundation ensures that the ecosystem can weather challenges and adapt to evolving circumstances.
  • Attracting Talent and Investment: A well-cultivated ecosystem becomes an attractive destination for talent and investment. It can draw in entrepreneurs, investors, and skilled professionals who want to be part of a thriving entrepreneurial community.


As ecosystem-building partners cultivate and scaffold, consider the following:

  • Policy Alignment: Ensure that policies and regulations at the local, regional, and national levels align with the goals of fostering entrepreneurship. Advocate for changes that remove barriers and promote innovation.
  • Infrastructure Development: Invest in physical and digital infrastructure that supports entrepreneurship, including co-working spaces, research facilities, and broadband connectivity.
  • Ecosystem Coordination: Facilitate collaboration and coordination among ecosystem actors, including startups, accelerators, universities, and government bodies. Create mechanisms for information sharing and joint initiatives.
  • Educational Programs: Develop educational programs that equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. Partner with educational institutions to offer entrepreneurship courses and training.
  • Networking Events: Organize networking events, conferences, and meetups to foster connections and collaboration within the ecosystem. These events can facilitate knowledge sharing and partnership building.

Conversation Guides

Use these conversation guides to help your institution and ecosystem partners cultivate and scaffold partnerships.

Conversation Guide: Developing Partnership Principles — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Foster Collaboration within the Institution — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Minimize Intellectual Property Management Barriers — PDF | Word