S01E06 – How to Approach Economic Development Through an Ecosystem Mindset with Christina Oldfather

In today’s episode, I’m taking you to Lincoln, Nebraska, to meet Christina Oldfather.

Christina is a seasoned ecosystem builder and economic developer.

We talk about the shared objectives and differences between economic development and ecosystem building as approaches to fostering entrepreneurship. And Christina spills the beans on how her ecosystem convenes and how they support founders post-acceleration.

We also discuss the power of small communities and taking a mindset of giving before you get. And hey, if you’re looking for a new exercise regimen this year, we got that covered too!

Christina Oldfather is the Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development. In her time at LPED, Christina has created and built a wide variety of entrepreneurial support programs, including the LaunchLNK program, a grant program for early-stage startups, and StartupLNK, a digital platform to help people navigate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lincoln.

She also is the lead organizer for 1 Million Cups Lincoln and Techstars Startup Week Lincoln. Christina also serves on the NMotion Board of Directors and has helped bring the NMotion Accelerator to its current status as an investment-based studio accelerator. In addition to NMotion, Christina serves on the Board of Directors of Startup Champions Network, a national nonprofit dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial ecosystem builders, the Child Advocacy Center, and Rabble Mill.

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How economic development, ecosystem building, and legislative action have influenced Lincoln’s entrepreneurial culture
  • Why Christina developed the LaunchLNK program specifically to support early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Why building trust and listening to the community’s needs have been key for building Lincoln’s ecosystem
  • How Christina uses her Jazzercise classes to carve out time for herself

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