The Entrepreneurial Ground Game
The Heart of Impactful Entrepreneurial Ecosystems
When American ecosystem builders gather, we often talk about the entrepreneurial programs we offer to support entrepreneurs and their development. Programs and resources are essential for high-performing ecosystems. However, e2’s field experience is clear – do not begin with programs and resources! Begin working with area entrepreneurs, build relationships, learn about their needs and wants, and then network them to available relevant resources. This is the entrepreneurial ground game. By working with entrepreneurs, we can gain strategic insight into the strengths and weaknesses in our ecosystems, focusing development and operational efforts.

To learn more, check out our recent paper prepared for Nebraska’s E3 Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Initiative.

Other e2 News
New Podcast Episode:
The e2 Ground Game

The term “ground game” instills a sense of practical and impactful tactics, well-executed and guided by a smart strategy. Whether we are focused on a military campaign, sporting event or sales push, the ground game is where the rubber hits the road and either yields outcomes or comes up short. In entrepreneurship, the ground game is where communities reach out to their area’s entrepreneurial talent, engage with them, build trusting relationships, listen and learn about their development needs and wants and network them to relevant resources and assistance.

Our January Pathways to Rural Prosperity podcast features a conversation with Shelley Paasch of Kansas Main Street.
Entrepreneurship Movements
Entrepreneurship is deeply rooted in America’s history and development. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was a serial entrepreneur. At e2 we are partnering with Chris Gibbons of Economic Gardening fame to curate a contemporary history of entrepreneurship in the United States. As part of this origin story is a piece that we developed called Entrepreneurship Movements. In this short readable paper, we outline the top 10 movements that have shaped our current entrepreneurial ecosystem development and work. Enjoy this read but email Don and contribute with your perspectives on what has shaped your perspective on entrepreneurship.
News Shorts
Dutch Start-Up Ecosystems. In late 2022, McKinsey & Company released an interesting paper titled Building a World-Class Dutch Start-Up Ecosystem. This report is a worthwhile read. On page 10, Exhibit 1, McKinsey shares data on “early-stage start-ups per one million residents for 2020 and 2021.” Here are McKinsey’s top five leading countries:
1.     Estonia – 986
2.     Israel – 917
3.     US – 616
4.     Netherlands – 564
5.     Sweden – 522
Note: Increasing successful early-stage start-ups is an important outcome for a high-performing entrepreneurial ecosystem. But, for mature economies, a focus on venture transitions, expansions and stimulating growth entrepreneurs is also very important. Don Macke – e2

Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship. Just before Thanksgiving last year, e2 participated in the Nebraska Community Foundation’s amazing annual learning and celebration event. Hundreds of community leaders from throughout rural Nebraska joined together to share and learn. We were part of a peer-learning session focusing on Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship. At e2 we believe core funding for entrepreneurial ecosystem building and operation can come from community philanthropy. Check out our resource.

Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship Illustrated. Sidney, Nebraska, population 6,409 in 2020, is part of the Nebraska Community Foundation, e2 and NetWork Kansas E3 Energizing Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Initiative (check out our E3 paper and podcast ). As we were talking philanthropy and entrepreneurship, the Sidney E3 team shared they had just received news that a Sidney Donor Advised Fund had awarded $90,000 per year for three years to fund a professional entrepreneur navigator position and program.

Patterson Family Foundation tops $1 million in Support to NetWork Kansas to Benefit Entrepreneurs, Grow Organizational Capacity. The Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas announced receiving a $552,350 grant award from the Patterson Family Foundation. The grant award is the second $500,000+ award NetWork Kansas has received to benefit entrepreneurs while growing organizational capacity. The current award focuses on providing 30% grant offsets to qualified E-Community loans focusing on three critical sectors in the 69 Entrepreneurship (E-) Communities: childcare, food (inclusive of restaurants, providers and grocery stores) and businesses starting or opening in vacant Main Street buildings. The initial grant, awarded earlier in 2022, was used to convert portions of approved loans to grants and to hire an additional staff member to support the work of NetWork Kansas’ Entrepreneurship (E-) Community Partnership. Read more.