Community Insights

Now Available: HeliumIQ Entrepreneurial Ecosystem White Paper

  • August 20, 2017

Enabling Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: A Recipe for Success

By: David Gritz, CTO of HeliumIQ


Institutions for higher education and regions are being drawn to create, revise or overhaul their programs for entrepreneurial support. Demand for sustained growth, national recognition, and public rankings have pressed policy makers and university program directors to get serious about their entrepreneurship programs. In the past, demand for entrepreneurship support was one-dimensional. Stops and starts to program development were acceptable and had little consequence as long as the institution supported its core mission.


Today, entrepreneurship has become the intangible fabric necessary for success. In the context of regions, new business formation is the primary driver to increases in regional net employment and those new businesses attract top talent from other regions in a virtuous cycle. Further, entrepreneurial cities create a force to revitalize aging infrastructure and attract cultural dynamism to urban areas. Wealth creation has disproportionately transformed cities that have supported entrepreneurial ecosystems like Denver, Austin and Boston.1 In parallel, slow growth regions like Fremont, Newark and Anaheim have not benefited from entrepreneurship because they have focused on tradition top-down economic development approaches. Institutions of higher education are seeing similar parallels.2 Colleges and universities with a focus on entrepreneurship and project-based learning are gaining a competitive advantage for attracting and retaining the best graduates.


Given the stakes for the expansion or reinvention for entrepreneurial programs are higher than ever. This paper seeks to explain the three key drivers to enabling successful entrepreneurial ecosystem: listening to entrepreneurs, mapping the ecosystem, and starting small and acting fast.


I. Listen to Entrepreneurs


A common myth among institutions is that capital is the primary or sole reason for lack of entrepreneurial activity. This is simply not the case. The need for capital for pre-seed and seed stage companies has declined over time as many industries have developed efficiencies that were not available in the past.3 Startups can now access monumental scalable computing power through Amazon, world-class wet labs in shared workspaces like the Cambridge Innovation Center, and incrementally test and prove a new market response to their product with Google Adwords.



Want the rest? Download the PDF white paper here.



Author Info

Steve Boerner

Outside of his own businesses, Steve has contributed to the development of entrepreneurs as an Adjunct Professor of Practice at University of Delaware’s Horn School of Entrepreneurship as well as a prior role as Director of the Hatch House Entrepreneurship Program at Rowan University. Steve is an avid public speaker on numerous topics around entrepreneurship. He has conducted three TEDx presentations while continuing to speak across the country on various related topics.

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