These days, CO.STARTERS is bubbling with new projects. We’re in the midst of a long-term shift from primarily supporting starters through programs to a broader mission of cultivating entrepreneurial ecosystems by connecting and empowering community builders with a wider spectrum of support. Ecosystems are the ground in which starters grow and are, in turn, shaped by starters as their activities spark new connections across their communities.
Three of our new projects are intimately related.
Stages of Community Growth. Earlier this year, we rolled out the CO.STARTERS Stages of Community Growth model, a series of six progressive stages that both describe how entrepreneurial ecosystems grow and can serve as a blueprint for communities as they nurture their own ecosystems.
Ecosystem Building Marketplace. This summer, we began an ambitious—and extremely exciting—initiative working with the Kauffman Foundation to create the Ecosystem Building Marketplace, the first comprehensive meta-resource to connect community leaders with ecosystem-building tools and resources they need to help entrepreneurs thrive. The Marketplace aims to catalog all the supports and tools available in the ecosystem-building community. Simply creating a comprehensive listing of resources opens up a world of possibilities for you and for CO.STARTERS.
As the Ecosystem Building Marketplace moves from discovery into design, we’re going beyond cataloging, however, to combine these resources with the Stages of Community Growth model to recommend tools that are right for you and your community, even before the Marketplace platform is complete.
Community Matchmaking Service. These two projects come together in our third major new project: the CO.STARTERS Community Matchmaking Service, which allows us to recommend vetted and curated ecosystem building tools through a consultation process with our team. We’ve been doing this kind of matchmaking informally for a long time but these new projects allow us to provide a more comprehensive service to more communities.
Here’s how it works. If you engage with the Community Matchmaking Service, we’ll ask you some initial questions about your needs and goals, then use that information to match you up with tools we can recommend that are just the right fit to help your community move forward.
Eventually, both the Ecosystem Building Marketplace and Community Matchmaking service will be publicly available. Now, however, CO.STARTERS is inviting communities to help us pilot our matchmaking process before we make it available more broadly. We are currently offering a limited number of sessions free of charge.
If you’re interested in accessing Marketplace resources now, sign up here for a Community Matchmaking session.
Learn more about the Ecosystem Building Marketplace.
Download the CO.STARTERS Stages of Community Growth model.