Bridging the Ecosystem Divide: Opportunities and challenges for building more inclusive entrepreneurial environments across space and race
The entrepreneurial ecosystems approach is the latest framework embraced by economic development practitioners, scholars and policymakers to understand and build strong economies. The specific patterns of information and resources flow through each regional ecosystem has implications for which entrepreneurs, organizations, and communities participate and prosper. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects ecosystem geography, funding priorities, and management capacity on economic and social inequality. Most studies on entrepreneurship focus on individual entrepreneurs as the unit of analysis. While personal networks are critical to entrepreneurial success, individual entrepreneurs receive significant resources and information through assisting organizations. This study focuses on entrepreneurial assisting organization (EAO) as the primary unit of analysis. Using multi-method approach including GIS analysis, interview data, and survey data, I examine how geographic distribution, management capacity, and a hyper-focus on technology impact EAOs and underrepresented entrepreneurs in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Richmond.
Elsie Harper-Anderson is an associate professor of Urban and Regional Planning and director of the PhD program in Public Policy and Management at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research examines the impact of macroeconomic transformation on regional economies and urban labor markets with a focus on social equity and sustainability. Her recent work focuses on understanding entrepreneurial ecosystem and their impact on building inclusive economies. Her other scholarship has focused on enhancing the connection between workforce development, economic development, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Harper-Anderson earned her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.S. in Public Management and Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. She currently serves on the governing board of the Urban Affairs Association and the Citizens Advisory Board for the City of Richmond’s Office of Community Wealth Building. Prior to her current post, she has held faculty positions at the University of Michigan, American University and Ball State University