The latest research insights and observations from the frontlines of ecosystem building for social change. A one-person think-tank.

Your Unfair Advantage

Mar 2, 2020

The more I talk to entrepreneurial ecosystem builders for social change (35 and counting), the more I learn about the unique world views and skillsets that make these people put the needs of purpose-driven founders before their own. What I notice at the same time is that they often are not even aware of just …

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Work and Friends Richmond, VA

Community over competition: An ecosystem builder’s approach

Dec 27, 2019

For a few years now, I have been deeply entrenched in the world of entrepreneurial ecosystem building. You’ll find me in seventh heaven when I get to spend time with like-minded peers whose eyes brighten up when I casually sprinkle the words ecosystem building into a conversation! And then there’s the other 99% whose faces …

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Coffee shops: The gateway to ecosystem building

Nov 9, 2019

“Every morning, I see her walk from their shop – past Cork Coffee Roasters – to Starbucks and return with a tray of coffee for her team.” my sister explains to me as we ourselves sip coffee at Cocoalatte in Toronto. “Think about it. That easily eight euros (USD 10) a day that go to …

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The Infinite Game of Ecosystem Building

Nov 1, 2019

The Infinite Game “In a finite game, the game ends when its time is up and the players live on to play another day (unless it was a duel, of course). In an infinite game, it’s the opposite. It is the game that lives on and it is the players whose time runs out. Because …

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Charting your progress Goals, Metrics and The Monkey's Paw Isaac Jeffries

Goals, Metrics and The Monkey’s Paw

Oct 15, 2019

By Isaac Jeffries One of the best ways to separate the strong entrepreneurs from the soon-to-be-frustrated entrepreneurs is to ask them about their goals.Sharp entrepreneurs set clear goals, which are easy to measure and genuinely contribute to their vision.Frustrated entrepreneurs talk about their dreams and set micro targets for their days, but these never turn …

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The Coach

Sep 22, 2019

Four days a week, I get up at 4.45 a.m. and ride my bike to a Crossfit gym at the corner of Avenue Road and Davenport in the heart of Toronto. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are non-negotiables. If nothing else gets me out of bed at this godly hour, coach DK does. This series is …

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EShip playbook for ecosystem builders

Ecosystem Building 101

Aug 25, 2019

Each month, three out of a thousand Americans start a new business (Kauffman Foundation 2019). For these entrepreneurs to succeed, they need varying levels of support: mentorship and advice, affordable work space, flexible financing, a favorable business environment, the list goes on… Broadly speaking, they need an ecosystem that helps them start and grow sustainable …

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What you do matters.

Jul 26, 2019

A tribute to my fellow ecosystem builders. I remember staring out the window of Lamplighter on a sunny afternoon in November of 2017. Lamplighter is a local coffee shop in Richmond, VA, that became my office away from the office when I needed to think. I was devouring my one Americano a day and Maurice Williams & …

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Virginia B Corps cheering for marathon runners in Richmond

It’s Love, Actually.

Jun 1, 2019

Ending my one-sided relationship with ecosystem building. Ecosystem building and I have been going through a rough time lately. It’s not like we’re breaking up but it’s fair to say that we need some time apart, figure out what we see and value in one another, imagine life without the other, find some assurance that …

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