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Coalition Roundup: September 11, 2020

In a survey released last month by Thumbtack, entrepreneurs gave municipal governments the highest marks for their COVID-19 responses, relative to their state and federal counterparts. Beyond the work of local lawmakers, many entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) have been instrumental in guiding policy and recovery efforts in cities and town across America.

In this week’s coalition roundup, we’re pleased to highlight local initiatives fostering strong and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Return to Better
The Peoria Innovation Alliance led the creation of Return to Better, “a tangible set of tools & resources created to seed, build, and grow entrepreneurs and companies in Greater Peoria.” The infrastructure, rooted in America’s New Business Plan, centers diversity and inclusivity across ecosystems.

RESOURCE: Read Jake Hamann’s blog post on Peoria’s pandemic response.

How Ecosystem Leaders In St. Louis Are Adjusting and Adapting During the Pandemic
Natalie Self, executive director of STEMSTL, a program affiliated with coalition member BioSTL, discussed her organization’s role as a “connective tissue,” working with leaders and members in the community to take care of basic needs, such as internet access. She noted the pandemic has led to new community partnerships and discussed how lessons in equity can be gleaned for the future.

To Better Serve Black Entrepreneurs, We Must be Willing to Listen and Learn

Epicenter President and CEO Leslie Lynn Smith wrote about her organization’s work to break down “discriminatory systems that have prevented such participation by Black entrepreneurs, founders, and small business owners in our region for decades.” She highlighted The 800 Initiative, discussing the importance of challenging assumptions and listening to evolving needs — something especially true in recent months.

‘That Kept Us Going’: Small Businesses Stay Alive With Local Help
TechTown Detroit shared a recent article in The New York Times, which highlighted Detroit’s COVID-19 response, led by the New Economy Initiative and supported by organization’s like TechTown.

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