September 26, 2018

Startup Champions Network (SCN) and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation Team to Foster and Support Entrepreneur Ecosystems

Grant Awarded to SCN to Professionalize Ecosystem Building for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Development with Focus on Best-Practices, Goals and Outcomes

SEPTEMBER 26, 2018: DENVER, CO -- @Denver Startup Week: The Startup Champions Network (SCN) today announced a collaboration with Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation focused on entrepreneur ecosystem building. Under a Kauffman Foundation grant award, SCN will engage its network of innovation ecosystem builders to formalize and professionalize efforts around creating sustainable economic impact by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs in any community.

“In the U.S. we have seen a rise in startup and innovation activity outside of typical epicenters like Silicon Valley. These developments are a direct result of the work of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders who are driving economic outcomes by creating local and regional initiatives that support and grow new businesses,” stated Larkin Garbee, Interim Executive Director of the Startup Champions Network.  SCN’s primary mission is to connect ecosystem builders so they can share best practices and learn from each other – no matter where they operate. In order to achieve this vision and activate the SCN values at-scale, we encourage and welcome the support of other organizations.

“This week SCN convenes one of two annual SCN Summits during Denver Startup Week (DSW),” added Garbee.  “SCN is delighted to be running the official Ecosystem Building Track during DSW while also continuing a deep-dive on inclusivity and diversity via our Inter-Cultural Unity (I-CU) programming.  

“We are energized to engage with Kauffman Foundation on an ambitious plan to amplify and scale the efforts of ecosystem builders,” continued Garbee. “As the guiding light for activation of the entrepreneurial spirit for more than 50 years, the Kauffman Foundation has become a trusted peer in support of the SCN mission, vision and values,” concluded Garbee.

Through this collaboration, the Kauffman Foundation has provided a grant to SCN in order to help formalize the organization and work diligently with the SCN network of ecosystem builder members, as well as other ecosystem stakeholder organizations/partners, to help further ecosystem building strategies.  Primary efforts for SCN revolve around developing support structures to help equip and empower ecosystems and other funding that may come to further the growth of ecosystems across the country as a mechanism to help local entrepreneurs succeed.

Born from a mission first developed under the Startup America Partnership (an initiative between the Kauffman Foundation, The Case Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) launched in 2011.  Several Startup America Champions saw a great need for an organization that created and supported a network for professional ecosystem builders across the United States. That awareness prompted several Champions to co-found SCN as a non-profit organization focused on building a national network of best-in-class innovation ecosystem builders and connecting them to people, resources, and events around the nation to support their communities and their work.

Support and perspective from the Kauffman Foundation enables the Startup Champions Network to strengthen their organizational structure to expand and deepen its communities of practice.

Philip Gaskin, Director of Entrepreneurial Communities at the Kauffman Foundation stated, “We are delighted to see where the SCN team has taken the craft of ecosystem building.  With their micro-level access to ecosystem builders across the country and our focus on empowering communities to scale the entrepreneurial spirit in their communities we look forward to working with SCN and learning from their knowledge and experience in this space while also helping them become a formalized and even more effective ecosystem support organization,” Gaskin added.

About Startup Champions Network

Building on nearly a decade of collective effort, the mission of the Startup Champions Network is to build a national network of best-in-class innovation ecosystem builders and connecting them to people, resources, and events around the nation to support their communities and their work. Through developing a diverse network of professional ecosystem builders around the country, SCN works to equip and empower ecosystem builders to provide best of breed solutions that enable local entrepreneurs to grow.  Learn more at

About the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful. The Kauffman Foundation is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and uses its $2 billion in assets to collaboratively help people be self-sufficient, productive citizens. For more information, visit and connect with us at and

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