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Photo courtesy of University of Louisville

Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, and the Louisville Entrepreneurship Acceleration Partnership (LEAP) together announce the launch of the Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program in Louisville, Kentucky. Techstars and LEAP will build a self-sustaining coalition of entrepreneurs, corporate partners, local and national investors, government and academic leaders, and startup enthusiasts in the community to collaborate on accelerating the growth of the ecosystem.

We have been working in Louisville over the past three months to learn as much as possible about the community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through stakeholder interviews and surveys as well as extensive secondary research. The results are now released as an assessment and roadmap for Louisville. Using the Techstars’ startup ecosystem development model—with a focus on the interactions between attitudes, actors, and activities—the findings of the assessment include analysis of Louisville’s culture, capital, talent, institutions and density. This report is the beginning of a year-long engagement to help create a more robust Louisville startup community.

The Louisville startup ecosystem has been building momentum over the past decade and is on a path to continue that growth in the near term. There is already a generous #givefirst culture in the network, a variety of events and activities that support idea stage founders, and handful of startup-focused organizations that are beginning to work together.

The Techstars model does not prescribe a general playbook in the communities it supports. Instead, it builds a living roadmap that outlines a set of guidelines based on the voices, experiences, and insights uncovered during the assessment. Everyone in a community has an important part to play, but thriving startup ecosystems are led by entrepreneurs, and when entrepreneurs win, everyone wins.

The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program is built in part based on principles outlined in the Book Startup Communities by Brad Feld, cofounder of Techstars and partner at Foundry Group. “Building a startup community is not a zero-sum game in which there are winners and losers: if everyone engages, they and the entire community can all be winners.”

The Techstars Startup Ecosystem Development program works with local community leaders at the state and city level and local entrepreneurial support programs to support community infrastructure and leadership to stimulate economic development and job growth. Louisville is the second city to launch this extended program, the inaugural of which was Buffalo, NY. Click here to learn more about how to activate your startup community.


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Cali Harris Cali Harris
(@caligater) Director, Community Development at Techstars. With more than 15 years’ experience in designing cross-sector programs, strategic partnerships, network development, mentorship networks, and operations, Cali uses the power of relationships paired with operational systems to drive an organization’s mission forward.