Lived Experience to Economic Empowerment
Economic Impact Catalyst (EIC) emerged from a recognition that conventional approaches to economic development were failing to support under-resourced entrepreneurs and communities. Founder David Ponraj formed EIC (formerly Startup Space) in 2018 based on his personal experiences as an immigrant entrepreneur of color struggling to access the resources needed to start and grow his first venture. Having navigated those challenges firsthand, Ponraj established EIC with the mission to equip and empower underrepresented founders who remained overlooked and underprioritized in many initiatives.
Driving Change Through Data, Empathy, and Advocacy
EIC’s work is grounded in the philosophy that inclusion and equity must be at the center in order to build robust, sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystems. Over the past few years, the organization has championed this vision of economic development—one that brings those historically denied access to wealthbuilding opportunities to the forefront. By combining data-driven strategic planning, empathetic perspective, and relentless advocacy, EIC has pushed the field to reimagine its potential for enabling success for diverse founders, families, and communities.
Pioneering a new vision for inclusive entrepreneurship
Economic Impact Catalyst was founded to redefine the role of entrepreneurship in economic development. EIC has emerged as a leader in pioneering more inclusive, equitable approaches focused on historically underserved founders and communities.
2018 – Startup Space was founded by David Ponraj, an immigrant small business owner who wanted to make it easier to connect with other entrepreneurs and find resources.
2019 – Licensed our technology for the first time to leaders in Denver, Colorado, who wanted a solution to make resources accessible to underserved communities, giving rise to the EIC model.
2020 – Scaled to help local communities nationwide bring relief to small businesses as our number of clients doubled in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
2021 – Evolved as Startup Space, the company, is renamed Economic Impact Catalyst (EIC) as we continue our mission of making entrepreneurship a true pathway to wealth creation in underserved communities.
2022 – Launched our Data Science Center of Excellence to provide market research, data analytics, powerful storytelling, and impact reporting that create more funding opportunities for our clients.
2023 – Celebrated our 5-Year Anniversary and opened our first physical corporate Headquarters in Clearwater, FL.
EIC delivers integrated technology-enabled solutions for economic developers to connect their entrepreneurial ecosystems, better support small businesses, and create economic impact through entrepreneurship.
The Catalyst Network brings EIC clients together to learn from one another, develop and share best practices, and collaborate. Our identity as economic developers, our purpose to empower entrepreneurs, and the limitless potential of the communicates in which we create are our connections.
EIC helps economic developers consolidate and unify data on job and wealth creation, new business starts, engagements from different geographic areas, and underrepresented communities. We also provide support to translate this data to support entrepreneurship-led economic development.
EIC is led by a diverse team of experts passionate about inclusive entrepreneurship. The leadership team brings decades of combined experience in areas like economic development, policy, community building, and small business growth.
See how EIC is empowering innovative businesses and energizing local economies through our press page, which includes the latest news and media coverage on EIC and our expertise and programming.
In addition to market research and data analytics programming, EIC offers services in consulting, workforce training, and grant management, to drive economic opportunities and prosperity.
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