In this special and intriguing episode, guest host Jodi McLean, Director of Sales and Marketing at EIC, is joined by Chris Heivly, Managing Director of Build the Fort, an umbrella entity that helps Chris serve entrepreneurs, startup companies and startup community champions through books, speaking, in-person workshops, and consulting. Chris is one of the nation’s leading experts on launching startups and has been dubbed the “Startup Whisperer.” He co-founded MapQuest, is an angel investor, ran a corporate venture fund and 2 micro venture funds (directed over $75M) and was recently SVP Innovation with Techstars.

Heivly discusses the complexity of ecosystem building and the 4 levels of community maturity: nascent, developing, emerging, and leading. He breaks down the 7 drivers that are needed to activate these different stages of community ecosystems. Different drivers are used for different business stages. Jodi and Chris speak on mentorship, which is critical, and helps to build great community leaders. Developing good community relationships is key. You need to inspire and support new startups, while also developing new investors, corporations, universities, and government. Heivly remarks that you cannot have an ecosystem without community.

Heivly also emphasizes the importance of connectivity; he mentions that he likes to see who is hyper-connected and how those connections are being created and nurtured. He speaks on a frequently asked question; If we believe that some startups may fail, how do we invest in the right ones?.

To connect with Chris, visit his LinkedIn. To purchase his recently published book, “Build the Fort: The Startup Community Builder’s Field Guide”, check it out on Amazon, Kindle, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook (in the next coming months).

About Breaking Down Barriers
A Podcast About Entrepreneurship-Led Economic Development
This podcast explores entrepreneurship as part of the economic developer’s toolkit for building prosperity in our communities. Episodes feature changemakers with innovative approaches to building ecosystems and improving the environment to empower people to start and grow their businesses. Conversations focus on breaking down barriers that limit entrepreneurship in underserved and historically excluded communities. We seek authentic stories to understand the profound impact of entrepreneurship-led economic development on the local economy and spotlight a network of passionate leaders advancing the field. Find out more at economicimpactcatalyst.com/impact

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