Beta City Applications are now open.
Our Community Expedition track was created to provide a pathway for us to empower passionate stakeholders as they navigate the journey of building and supporting a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem in their community with a Community Studio Methodology. Where a consulting firm may offer analysis or advice regarding business growth, our team helps communities climb past their current hurdles, develop sustainable strategies and begin to take action on them, and trains community leaders to continue the work for generations to come. Data analysis and best practices are vital to our process, but we acknowledge each community has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses as they pursue summiting new business heights.
We evaluate each individual community, identify community stakeholders who are committed to improvement, and provide community leaders resources and coaching to move toward accomplishing goals. When progress has been made, we provide training to help communities continue to grow and thrive.
This Community Expedition track is separated into three phases. While communities will receive the most training and resources to identify, implement, and sustain healthy growth in their ecosystem by participating in all three, cities may start with one or two of the phases to get the ball rolling. Each of the phases is outlined below.
1 Ecosystem Mapping
A detailed mapping of your community's ecosystem is step one in our Community Expedition process. Learn more below.
Are you sensing a need for entrepreneurial and business growth discovery in your community? Are there people and organizations doing good work, but there are questions around what is working well, what your challenges are, and what to examine next?
The Foothills module of our Community Expedition track is the starting point to begin answering some of the foundational questions helpful in taking the next steps toward a healthy ecosystem for multiple stakeholders in your community. Our team will evaluate ecosystem strengths, gaps, and provide data around options for advancement/improvement.
Just as successful startups spend time researching their market and target audience before they spend time building products or solutions, it is imperative to discover the intel needed to take action in your city. The right research is key in setting communities up for success. If your goal is to one day summit the peak, we can help you survey the mountain you're looking to climb.
2 Guided Engagement
Once we've mapped your community, we assess that data and help you decide where and how you want to grow. Then we provide practical engagement support to help make it a reality.
Has your community had the opportunity to take stock of where the entrepreneurial and economic development wins and pitfalls are happening in your area? Do you have a good handle on where and how you’d like your business ecosystem to grow and evolve, but aren’t sure how to get there?
Once communities have engaged in our Foothills discovery and analysis process, we use that data to come alongside community stakeholders to build bridges for entrepreneurial and ecosystem advancement. Once we have a solid assessment of what is working well and what can be improved upon in an ecosystem, our team is able to build a plan in conjunction with the goals the community is looking to achieve.
This pivotal step encourages and enables communities to start their climb with sure footing. We've got preliminary data mapped out and are ready to help your community stakeholders take action. Typically this process involves putting “boots on the ground” where members of our Mountains Community Expedition team are physically present in the cities or towns we are serving. This allows us to engage and interact with the community on a deeper level, so that we can set a good path forward and side-step rocky terrain. Our current goal is to serve communities and keep everyone involved in this process safe in the midst of COVID-19. Therefore, we have temporarily suspended the travel aspect of this phase, but aim to tackle deep engagement with the ecosystem through nuanced virtual methods and return to in-person engagement as soon as it is wise.
In this stage, we start to execute on community goals, whether that be connecting stakeholders, helping to spin up entrepreneurial events, providing startup education, or building toward healthier investment capital in the area. We engage with a wide variety of community stakeholders from colleges to coworking spaces to business accelerators to government leadership and so many more. This stage is always custom built to reflect the specific goals of each of our client communities. In this stage, community leaders can have confidence they aren’t climbing the mountain alone, and have some great guides along the way. Lace up your hiking boots. It’s time to get to work.
3 Extended Support
While we provide each of our Community Expedition clients with basic support following any level of the program, participation in the final phase of our program, the Summit, allows our team the ability to provide extended support and resources to your community to promote long-term sustainability and continued growth.
Has your city laid some great foundation work, grown in regard to the resources available for entrepreneurs and small business owners, helped connect stakeholders, and generally raised the bar when it comes to the well-being of the business and startup community?
Once a city makes strides toward being a healthy, strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, we want to set them up for long-term success. This means empowering the stakeholders in a community to continually engage in the evaluation and action process long after the Mountain’s team has left town. We set these communities up with a Mountains follow-up team that continues to engage with community leadership to address questions, new growth goals, and long term sustainability strategies.
The community stakeholders we work alongside during our Base Camp phase have intimate knowledge of their city and their community’s ongoing needs, so they are in a great position to continue the good work. We provide training and resources to help these community leaders become seasoned ecosystem builders themselves. Where our team steps aside as a trailblazing guide, we leave newly equipped sherpas in our stead. Providing tools and encouraging local leadership to own the work ahead helps to ensure the health of the business community for years to come.