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A national network of professional ecosystem builders


A national network of professional ecosystem builders


The Startup Champions Network

Our Mission:

To provide builders of entrepreneurial ecosystems the connections, resources, and professional development they need to cultivate thriving and inclusive communities.



We believe that thriving and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems should exist in all communities in order to drive economic opportunity and independence for all.


We believe that thriving and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems should exist in all communities in order to drive economic opportunity and independence for all.

Who are Innovation Ecosystem Builders?


Ecosystem builders are people who drive long-term change by supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. They work to reduce barriers for entrepreneurs.

Ecosystem builders come from a variety of backgrounds and expertise, including entrepreneurs, government officials, economic developers, grassroots community leaders, university leaders, academics, philanthropists, corporate leaders, and media.  What distinguishes Ecosystem Builders is their collaborative nature, systems thinking, selfless approach, and commitment to inclusion.

Ecosystems thrive when people and resources are connected and working together to develop new approaches and solutions for serving entrepreneurs.


Our Members

Our Members



Entrepreneurs who every day...

  • Champion entrepreneurship and innovation in their community
  • Build and lead coalitions that create more resources for entrepreneurs
  • Connect and collaborate to help others succeed
  • Live ‘Give Before You Get’
  • Strive to ‘Do Good Well’
  • Subscribe to the Boulder Thesis
  • See abundance and possibility instead of scarcity and roadblocks
  • Engage the entire entrepreneurial stack through their active initiatives
  • Work to truly engage and include everyone 
  • Driven by results and dedicated to making real/deep impact
  • Get things done
  • Fully invested in helping other ecosystems grow as much as their own


  • Driven by self-interest
  • Focused on gaining cash, credit or control
  • Idealistic with no action or ability to make it happen
  • Focused on one program, company or other single part of an innovation ecosystem
  • Working with a short-term perspective
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How We Help

  • Build the Network: Connect and foster relationships among innovation ecosystem builders.

  • Activate & Level Up Ecosystem Builders: Gather, develop and distribute best-in-class practices in ecosystem building to 1) help established builders level up and 2) on-board new generations of ecosystem builders.

  • Elevate Local Startups: Methodically collaborate to connect and elevate high-performing startups from champions’ local regions to help them access the national network of resources and people they need to succeed.

  • Track Ecosystem Growth: Develop and track a common set of innovation ecosystem health metrics to help local regions benchmark their progress and create a collective data resource that measures the size and strength of the national innovation ecosystem over time.

  • Celebrate: Champion, share and cheer on the great success and growth in entrepreneurship happening all over the country.


  • People who understand your work. We celebrate and elevate those deep in the work of building their ecosystem and help them get better at it.

  • Access to the national startup network. We are and know the leaders and connectors of major innovation hubs and national resource organizations. This organization connects many grassroots builders to national resources who otherwise don’t have access.

  • Best practices for innovation ecosystem building. Our members, each a best-in-class ecosystem builder in their own right, meet with, learn from, and share with each other what’s working to make the most impact.

  • Live case studies of other innovation ecosystems. Our bi-annual summits give builders a behind-the-scenes tour of other members’ ecosystems to see, help with, and learn from the good, bad and ugly of other communities working toward similar goals.

  • Help elevating your best startups to the national level. Our members work together to help each others’ best startups get access to resources, opportunities, and connections around the nation increasing their chance for success.

  • Data to benchmark your ecosystem’s health. Nothing legitimizes an ecosystem builder’s work like good old fashioned metrics of success. Our straight-forward collection process and ability to compile data across the network, and therefore the nation, gives ecosystem builders the tools to prove to themselves, their funders and their partners that they are indeed making an impact.


Want to learn more?