Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builder, ESHIP Baltimore

About ESHIP Communities 

The ESHIP Communities program is a community-driven approach for building entrepreneurial ecosystems that foster inclusion, relationships, collaboration, and social capital across networks of entrepreneurs and those who support them. The program supports the creation and evaluation of a repeatable, bottom-up approach to building and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems. To validate the effectiveness of the model, we are testing key aspects of the framework in Kansas City, Central New Mexico, Baltimore, and Long Beach. Learnings from our initial programs will help refine the approach in subsequent cities.

Geographic/Sector Focus

The ESHIP Communities initiative in Baltimore will be specifically focused on engaging local community stakeholders in a collaborative effort to grow trust, connectivity and equity in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.Work in the first year will focus more specifically on ecosystem development in and between East and West Baltimore, as well as in and between those neighborhoods and the broader city ecosystem.

Description of Role

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builder (hereafter referred to as Ecosystem Builder) serves as the local representative and leader of the ESHIP Communities engagement and serve as a social entrepreneur guiding this important work in your local community. The position reports directly to the Forward Cities Director of ESHIP Communities. Direct reports include any assigned departmental interns. Candidates should be based in East or West Baltimore. Additionally, the role comes with approximately 3-4 days of travel per quarter for training and organizational events.

Job responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Organizing and supporting the local ESHIP Council by identifying potential members, coordinating, facilitating, and guiding action items emerging from meetings;
  • Serving as a boundary-spanning connector in and between various groups of entrepreneurial stakeholders and local entrepreneurs;
  • Serving as lead project manager for all deliverables including coordinating local input to research product and where need be supplementing it through own data collection and outreach, strategic plans, and pilot projects;
  • Managing and coordinating local partners to support the research and evaluation, strategic planning, and implementation work;
  • Where needed, helping to deploy surveys and other research instruments in the local community;
  • Developing progress reports for the ESHIP Council and key local and national stakeholders;
  • Identifying and amplifying the good stories emerging from the work in partnership with local and national media partners;
  • Learning and providing direct delivery of original and third-party ecosystem and entrepreneurial support programming;
  • Building awareness and support for the work among local and regional partners and stakeholders;
  • Planning, with guidance from the ESHIP team, local events, and gatherings;
  • Emerging lessons learned from the local work for sharing with the broader ESHIP Community;
  • Serving as a liaison with the national Forward Cities team and actively engaging with other ESHIP Communities Ecosystem Builders and Forward Cities Local Directors in other cities to maximize opportunities for shared learning and collaboration;
  • Learning and modeling the ESHIP values which promote vibrant, connected, and inclusive entrepreneurial communities;
  • Cultivating and managing a local volunteer/intern team to strengthen local capacity;
  • Managing budgets for the local engagement and pilot projects; and
  • Leading with entrepreneurial thinking by addressing additional needs and opportunities as they arise consistent with the mission of advancing inclusive entrepreneurial supports locally and regionally.

The ideal candidate is/has:

  • Local to or deeply familiar with the community;
  • Able to maintain and build trust in the community;
  • An experienced ecosystem builder engaged with the local innovation economy and its important contributors;
  • A strong and trusted facilitator – especially across diverse constituencies;
  • A well-organized project manager with demonstrated management experiences;
  • A self-starter who is able to work independently while keeping the ESHIP Team in a close loop;
  • A strong verbal communicator and writer;
  • An entrepreneurial spirit;
  • A strong collaborator and strategic thinker; and
  • Organized, has attention to detail, and effectively manages time.

Professional & Academic Qualifications:

  • At least 5 years of work experience – with relevant experience in project management and community facilitation
  • Bachelor’s Degree (or 10-year equivalent experience) is required and relevant post-graduate is helpful

Time Commitment & Reporting Authority

  • This is a 3-year grant funded role – with the potential of staying engaged in the implementation of the work post-engagement;
  • The Ecosystem Builder is a full-time Forward Cities employee and reports to the Forward Cities national team with dotted line accountability to the local ESHIP Council;
    • Workspace will be provided at an appropriate local organization and/or coworking space; however, much of the work involves community engagement external to the office.

    Professional Support

    Each Ecosystem Builder will be part of a cohort of at least three other ecosystem builders that are doing similar work in other ESHIP Communities or Forward Cities capacity building or membership communities.  As part of the cohort, the Ecosystem Builder will receive:

    • Training and ongoing professional development support from the Forward Cities national team;
    • Guidance and resources for the broader ESHIP Community
    • Access to key stakeholders and decision-makers within the city to help support the success of work;
    • A robust network of peers, partners, and supporters locally, regionally, and nationally dedicated to the work of inclusive innovation and economic development in under-connected communities.


    $65,000 with full employment benefits.

    Interested applicants may apply here

    About Forward Cities

    Forward Cities is a national capacity-building and learning network working within and between cities and micropolitans to create more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem development. Our mission is to create opportunities for shared prosperity through inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem development.