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

Partner and Collaborate

Leveraging Synergies

Links & Connection theme and the Doing stage

Positioned at the intersection of the Links & Connections theme and the Doing stage, “Partner and Collaborate” underscores the significance of forging strategic partnerships and collaborative relationships within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It involves seeking out synergies and shared opportunities among ecosystem stakeholders.

When ecosystem stakeholders and partners, including colleges and universities, work to partner and collaborate, they create the core connective tissue for ecosystem growth and advancement:

  • Resource Amplification: Partnering and collaborating enable ecosystem participants to leverage each other’s resources, expertise, and networks. This amplifies the collective impact of the ecosystem.
  • Innovation Hub: Collaborative efforts often lead to the creation of innovative solutions, products, and services. By pooling talents and ideas, stakeholders can address complex challenges more effectively.
  • Market Access: Partnerships can provide access to new markets, customer segments, and distribution channels. This expansion can be particularly valuable for startups looking to scale.


As ecosystem-building partners collaborate, consider the following:

  • Strategic Alignment: Identify partners whose missions, values, and goals align with those of the ecosystem. Ensure that partnerships are mutually beneficial and advance shared objectives.
  • Clear Objectives: Define clear and measurable objectives for partnerships and collaborations. Establish expectations and roles to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Communication and Coordination: Effective communication and coordination are essential for successful collaborations. Establish channels for ongoing dialogue and information sharing.
  • Partnership Assessment: Evaluate potential partners based on their expertise, resources, and the value they bring to the ecosystem. Assess compatibility and alignment with strategic goals.
  • Collaborative Projects: Launch joint projects or initiatives that capitalize on the strengths of different ecosystem stakeholders. Collaborative projects can address specific challenges or seize market opportunities.
  • Ecosystem Platforms: Create digital platforms or networks that facilitate matchmaking and collaboration among ecosystem participants. These platforms can serve as hubs for identifying and connecting with potential partners.
  • Cross-Sector Collaboration: Encourage cross-sector collaboration, where ecosystem participants from diverse industries and sectors come together to explore new possibilities and innovation.

Conversation Guides

Use these conversation guides to help you partner with and collaborate with stakeholders in your ecosystem:

Conversation Guide: Creating Partnerships Across Higher Ed Institutions — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Exploring Technology for Impact — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Pilot Cross-Functional Collaboration — PDF | Word