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

Illuminate Interdependence

Enhancing Ecosystem Connectivity

Links & Connections theme and the Discovering stage

Positioned at the intersection of the Links & Connections theme and the Discovering stage, “Illuminate Interdependence” focuses on shedding light on the complex web of interconnections between assets, roles, and stakeholders within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s about understanding how various elements interact and influence each other.

  • When ecosystem stakeholders and partners, including colleges and universities, work together to illuminate interdependence, they strengthen the bonds needed across the ecosystem:
  • Network Building: Illuminating interdependence is critical for building and strengthening the network of relationships within the ecosystem. It allows builders to identify key connections and potential collaboration opportunities.
  • Resource Optimization: Recognizing interdependencies helps optimize the utilization of resources and assets. It enables ecosystem participants to leverage each other’s strengths and mitigate weaknesses.
  • Innovation Catalyst: Interconnectedness often fosters innovation. When different actors within the ecosystem collaborate and share ideas, it can lead to the creation of novel solutions and opportunities.


As ecosystem-building partners illuminate interdependence, consider the following:

  • Network Analysis: Conduct network analysis to visualize and map the connections between ecosystem stakeholders, roles, and assets. Identify nodes (key players) and clusters (groups of interconnected actors).
  • Ecosystem Surveys: Include questions in surveys and assessments that capture insights into existing relationships and connections. Understand how stakeholders perceive their interdependence.
  • Data Transparency: Promote transparency in data sharing within the ecosystem, ensuring that relevant information is accessible to all stakeholders. This facilitates better-informed decision-making.
  • Network-Building Events: Organize networking events, forums, or conferences that bring ecosystem participants together. Encourage dialogue and collaboration to foster deeper interconnections.
  • Collaboration Platforms: Establish digital platforms or online communities where ecosystem stakeholders can connect, share insights, and collaborate on projects. These platforms can serve as hubs for interdependence.
  • Ecosystem Mapping: Create visual maps or diagrams that illustrate the interdependencies within the ecosystem. Use these visual aids to communicate and facilitate discussions about collaboration opportunities.
  • Mentorship and Peer Learning: Facilitate mentorship programs and peer learning initiatives within the ecosystem. Encourage experienced entrepreneurs and experts to guide newcomers, promoting knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Conversation Guides

Use these conversation guides to help you and your ecosystem partners discover and leverage interdependence.

Conversation Guide: Internal Connections Speed Networking — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Highlight Cross-Sector Collaboration — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Align and Harmonize Entrepreneurship Programs — PDF | Word