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Startup ecosystems are not created through fancy facilities, government funding, or venture capitalists. Rather, startup ecosystems are created and led by entrepreneurs that are passionate about creating connections and building strong companies.

The Founder Institute, the world's largest pre-seed startup accelerator, has been helping build tech companies in over 180 cities across the globe since 2009. If you want to lead a startup accelerator and you are passionate about supporting your local community, check out some of the free resources below to learn from our experiences.

Launch an Accelerator Chapter

The Startup Ecosystem Canvas

In the must-read book Startup Communities, Brad Feld (Co-Founder of TechStars and Foundry Group) describes the dangers of fragmentation. According to Feld, "fragmentation kills local entrepreneurship", and a “philosophy of inclusiveness” is a key pillar of a vibrant startup ecosystem.

Fragmentation can’t be fixed overnight, but if you can map out your local ecosystem, then you can immediately make it more transparent and inviting for newcomers. In other words, if you can lower the barrier to entry for new entrepreneurs to join your startup ecosystem, you can ultimately help it grow.  That's why we developed the Startup Ecosystem Canvas to help startup leaders map their local ecosystem in a framework that makes it more transparent and inviting for new entrepreneurs.

The Framework

There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common framework.

1. The Stages

There is no one right way to build a technology company, but for the sake of simplicity we have outlined a basic, common framework.

Idea Stage

This is where new entrepreneurs get inspired, learn best practices, develop skills, validate ideas, and begin to build their team and product.

Launch Stage

In this stage, entrepreneurs establish and formalize the company, develop the product, get feedback from customers, and prepare for the next step.

Growth Stage

Here, a startup proves their utility, receives recognition, and scales up. This usually requires funding, angels, VCs, and ways to connect them to startups.

2. The Supporters

To facilitate the steps, every ecosystem needs strong supporters.

Evangelists and Advisors

Successful entrepreneurs must be the guiding forces of any startup ecosystem, especially in the Idea-Stage.

Government

Public organizations can play an important role by facilitating and supporting the community in the Launch-Stage.

Talent

You can't grow without talent, and both universities and large technical employers attract and cultivate the local talent pool.

Learn more about (and create your own) Startup Ecosystem Canvas at FI.co/canvas, or read more about the origin of the project here.

How to Identify Strong Potential Entrepreneurs

The Founder Institute has a vision to launch enduring technology companies that create over one million startup jobs worldwide. In order to reach this scale, for the last 10 years we have worked with leading social scientists to develop an objective test that predicts the likelihood that someone can become a successful tech entrepreneur - regardless of their idea, locale, or demographic.

Our research has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, and Forbes, and below is a sampling of the traits found in most successful entrepreneurs:

Professional Experience

You don't have to drop out of college to be a successful founder. Our data shows that 34 year-olds with domain expertise and management experience have the advantage.

High Fluid Intelligence

Can you quickly learn a rule set and apply it to solve a novel problem? With a constantly changing playing field, founders must recognize patterns and quickly adapt to survive.

High Openness

Are you constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge? Does your curiosity cause you to challenge accepted norms? The best entrepreneurs seek change - not the status quo.

Moderate Agreeableness

Can you balance cooperation with antagonism? Are you generally warm and considerate, but straightforward and harsh when necessary? The best equipped founders are flexible.

See the full research and learn more at FI.co/DNA.

Ecosystem Building Content

Below we've listed some fo the most popular startup ecosystem-building content from the Founder Institute network.

Lead a Startup Accelerator

If you are passionate about growing your local economy through entrepreneurship, then apply to be a Founder Institute Local Director to lead an accelerator chapter. Local Directors play a central role in their startup ecosystem, share in the value of the companies created, and become part of a global network of over 10,000 global entrepreneur leaders.

Learn about being an FI Director