Forward Cities is a national nonprofit equipping
communities and regions to grow and sustain
more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.


Engage in building entrepreneur-centric, ecosystem-based approaches to equitable economic development across the country via a national learning network, community innovation initiatives, and the ESHIP Communities program


Discover how Forward Cities defines inclusive innovation, explore a toolkit of strategies and best practices for outcomes of an equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem, and consider a set of policy levers for local governments to bring to their cities.


Explore the latest news, stories, and insights about Forward Cities’ work on-the-ground, in cities and micropolitans across the U.S. Read testomonials of the people we have impacted across comunities we work with

Solution Stories: The Bold Experiment of the Community Entrepreneurship Accelerator

Many of today’s cities, while sharing a great deal in common with cities of the past, have taken a number of bold, new moves to evolve the way they serve their residents. While technology has had a significant influence on this change, we are also seeing it emerge...

Rustbelt Renaissance: The case of New Kensington, PA

Editor’s Note: Kim Louis is the Forward Cities Westmoreland County Project Manager in Pittsburgh, PA.On October 5 in New Kensington, Westmoreland County, PA, a few dozen people came together to explore the potential and possibility that comes with, as the local mayor...

Anchor Institutions’ Contributions to Building Inclusive Small Business Ecosystems

Anchor Institutions’ Contributions to Building Inclusive Small Business Ecosystems was jointly developed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Forward Cities with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

What makes a successful and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem? (Part 2)

In my last blog, I talked about the definition and evaluation of two key elements of an entrepreneurial ecosystem – entrepreneurs and entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs). While those two elements represent integral parts of the ecosystem, simply measuring each individual entrepreneur’s or organization’s success provides an incomplete picture of the viability and inclusivity of the ecosystem at the area-level.

Expanding Our Entrepreneurial Imagination in Indianapolis

Who do you picture when you hear the word “entrepreneur?” Do you imagine a 20 something plugging away on their computer coding for an app? Maybe you envision your local coffee shop owner who wants to create space for community members to connect over a good cup of joe. As Forward Cities journeys with communities to develop equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems, one thing we are learning is that our collective imagination around entrepreneurship will have to expand.

Do Forward Cities’ Site-Visits Strengthen Cross-City Connections?

Our Research team asked the participants to go out of their way and take an additional three surveys over the course of the two days, because we saw an opportunity to set a new standard about how we can capture the impact of city visits like these. Kudos to the twenty, who stuck with us through all the questions of the pre and post-event surveys; you hold the record for the highest response rate of any of our survey instruments ever launched.

What Makes a Successful and Inclusive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?

Reflections on measurement and definitions for evaluation - Part 1 By Stacey Williams, PhD, MPH - Director of Evaluation, Forward Cities  Inclusive Innovation Innovation is a hallmark of a vibrant society and is often most visible in the form of entrepreneurship. In...

Article Roundup: December 5

Our team is always looking for ways to highlight the great work happening around the country. Every day, our communities face new challenges that are met head-on by leaders and entrepreneurs aiming to make a difference. Their work inspires ours! Here is a selection of...

Podcast Interview: Time Out with Bill Hendrickson

Time Out is a one-hour conversation from WCOM-LP 103.5 FM, community radio for Chapel Hill & Carrboro, with a wide variety of persons with varied talents and professions, hosted by Bill Hendrickson. In this episode, Hendrickson interviews Forward...

Not the Time to Be Polite: Reflections on the Forward Cities Spring Workshop 2018

Written by Christopher Gergen, CEO of Forward Cities: This June, 220 city and community leaders from 25 cities came to Durham, NC for a conversation about inclusive innovation and economic development. It marked an important moment. It was the first national...