Business and Entrepreneurship Sector, powered by California Community Colleges

Ecosystem Mapping Project Launching in Bay Region

 

Entrepreneurship is a hot topic in communities throughout California and, like a lot of initiatives, there are often many separate groups working together toward the same goal without the knowledge that the others exist.

The Business and Entrepreneurship sector is looking to change that through an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Mapping project that will begin in the Bay Area later this fall. The goal is to bring together stakeholders from throughout the entrepreneurship space to discuss and catalog entrepreneurship resources, then create a report about the health of that ecosystem, along with a database of available resources.

Xavier Nazario, Business & Entrepreneurship Regional Director in the Bay Area, is leading the project and said he hopes it will also shed light on entrepreneurship activities happening at community colleges and help the colleges fill the resource gaps as they are identified.

“A lot of colleges offer entrepreneurship certificates or programs, but they’re not always the same thing,” Nazario said. “One might be about how to manage an existing business, while another is about how to create something new. Historically, there hasn’t been a way to identify what everyone is doing and where the needs are across a region.”

The mapping project will start with two meetings in the North Bay region consisting of Sonoma, Marin, Napa and Solano counties this November. Eventually, Nazario expects to hold 8-10 meetings in subregions throughout the North Bay. He will work in partnership with Georgia Abbott, a Michigan-based business consultant who has done similar work there, and Micah Merrick, his counterpart and Regional Director for the Peninsula and South Bay.

Meeting attendees will include business owners, venture capital firms, government and non-profit agencies, community college faculty, and people who provide legal, marketing, and other services to entrepreneurs.

Once the pilot is complete, Nazario hopes to have a report compiled and ready for distribution by early 2020. “The goal is to help colleges identify needs of entrepreneurs at a systemic level as opposed to college to college, while adding value to that system at the same time,” Nazario said. “Once we’ve refined the tools needed to capture this information, it could be scaled all the way up to the state level.”

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