Case Study
Chamber of Entrepreneurship
Program
Spring 2021

Client: Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC

Task: The main objectives for the students were to identify qualities and services of a competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem and map the Pikes Peak region’s existing service provisions, leverage community networks and relationships to identify key “epicenters of the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” and inform future strategic work within individual organizations and across the community to strengthen overall entrepreneurial opportunity.

Scope

In the Spring of 2021, the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, along with five core partners and nine additional community partners engaged the Quad Innovation Alliance to map the assets of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Colorado Springs and the broader Pikes Peak Region. The research and framework of the project was intended as a starting point for the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, and to inform community-scale strategy to deepen available assets and overall ecosystem vitality. The main objectives for the students were to identify qualities and services of a competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem and map the Pikes Peak region’s existing service provisions, leverage community networks and relationships to identify key “epicenters of the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” and inform future strategic work within individual organizations and across the community to strengthen overall entrepreneurial opportunity.

Student Process

The students adapted the Kauffman Foundation’s Ecosystem Building Playbook 3.0 to first identify seven key elements for evaluation: entrepreneurs, knowledge, capital, workforce pipe, stories, culture and champions, conveners, onramps and intersections. Leveraging this seven-element structure, the project proceeded with a standard methodology. First, using the prior research from the Kauffman model, the students gathered preliminary information about the Colorado Springs regional entrepreneurship ecosystem from published sources. This led to comparative research about other cities’ ecosystems and their tactics that have successfully bolstered entrepreneurial ecosystems. The students then set up qualitative interviews with community members who have engaged in work within the regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. Using the data gathered from their interviews, the students proceeded into constructing an asset directory that maps the details or individuals interviewed, which confirmed the existence of epicenters and gaps previously identified within the ecosystems.

Outcome

This asset map is meant to serve as the “at a glance” view of the regional ecosystem. The analysis and research compiled in the report highlights key players, research findings, community ideas, and recommendations for future decisions to help foster entrepreneurial growth. Quad students synthesized their data in strengths and weaknesses based on the seven key elements taught in the Kauffman’s model.