October 27 – Economic Development Division – Nurturing your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem – Speakers: John Provo and Sarah Lyon-Hill
Through a grant from the Kauffman Foundation, Virginia Tech’s Office of Economic Development researched entrepreneurial ecosystems and the resource needs of different types of entrepreneurs, such as innovation-driven “gazelle” enterprises, lifestyle businesses, and second-stage companies. Measures and metrics that help describe the ecosystem but also reflect these different entrepreneurial types were examined within a rural context. The goal was twofold: to understand which metrics are feasible to collect for smaller regions, and to facilitate benchmarking across numerous regions. We will present findings from this study and then ask panel participants to share their own stories and reflect on the findings within the context of their own ecosystems. Questions to explore include: How have participants’ respective regions examined their own ecosystems and what measures/metrics have they found most useful to collect? How can we think more inclusively as we endeavor to strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystems? What steps have/might we take? What role should planners and economic developers play in encouraging entrepreneurship and business growth?