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

Strengthen Ties

Fostering Collaborative Connections

Links & Connections theme and the Developing stage

Situated at the intersection of the Links & Connections theme and the Developing stage, “Strengthen Ties” is central to the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem. It involves intentionally nurturing and deepening connections and collaborations among ecosystem stakeholders.

When ecosystem stakeholders and partners, including colleges and universities, work together to strengthen ties, they support critical ecosystem dynamics:

  • Enhanced Collaboration: Strengthening ties promotes deeper collaboration among ecosystem participants, which can lead to the co-creation of innovative solutions and the amplification of impact.
  • Knowledge Sharing: Stronger ties facilitate the exchange of knowledge, expertise, and best practices. This, in turn, contributes to the growth and capacity-building of ecosystem actors.
  • Resilience and Sustainability: Collaborative connections create a sense of shared purpose and support within the ecosystem. This fosters resilience in the face of challenges and contributes to the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem.


As ecosystem-building partners strengthen ties, consider the following:

  • Relationship Building: Encourage ecosystem builders to actively cultivate relationships with key stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, investors, support organizations, and government bodies.
  • Trust and Transparency: Foster an environment of trust and transparency within the ecosystem. These are foundational elements for strong ties and effective collaboration.
  • Alignment of Interests: Ensure that collaborative efforts align with the shared interests and goals of ecosystem participants. Clear alignment encourages active engagement.
  • Collaborative Projects: Initiate and support collaborative projects or initiatives that bring multiple ecosystem stakeholders together to work on common objectives. These projects can serve as catalysts for deeper ties.
  • Ecosystem Ambassadors: Identify and empower ecosystem ambassadors—individuals who can champion collaboration and serve as connectors between different ecosystem actors.

Conversation Guides

Use these conversation guides to help your institution and its ecosystem partners understand and strengthen ties:

Conversation Guide: Collaboration Continuum — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Maximize Intermediary Organizations — PDF | Word

Conversation Guide: Elevate Internal Collaboration — PDF | Word