Startup ecosystems and traditional economic development models have historically excluded non-traditional, alternative, and diverse entrepreneurs. These ecosystems often ignore the authentic groups of entrepreneurs and businesses that make a community unique and instead try to encourage only high-impact, high-growth tech startups. By only focusing on this narrower scope of a defined startup ecosystem versus an entrepreneurial ecosystem, smaller cities (and alternative marketplaces) face extreme challenges and miss opportunities for enhanced economic development. This chapter includes a case study of Tucson’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and the evolution of the entrepreneurial support organization Startup Tucson from one focused only on startups to a now industry-agnostic driver of inclusive ecosystem building. An account of this transition is provided for review, including the community-based feedback process used by the organization to redefine its goals. By adopting a broader definition of entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurs truly rooted in Tucson’s strengths, Startup Tucson has seen more diverse businesses (and ventures of all types) and founders opting-in to the ecosystem, thereby increasing the Tucson’s economic development. This case study will provide those interested in ecosystem development with ideas on how to implement ecosystems within alternative markets.
Pocock, L. (2022), "Community Innovation and Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development: A Case Study of Startup Tucson", Mars, M.M. and Schau, H.J. (Ed.) How Alternative is Alternative? The Role of Entrepreneurial Development, Form, and Function in the Emergence of Alternative Marketscapes (Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, Vol. 29), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 149-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1048-473620220000029007
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