PLACE Builders

PLACE Builders logo

Across the country, there are a handful of individuals committed to supporting and empowering entrepreneurs in the places where they live.

Equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem builders play a unique and vital role - helping to ensure that every entrepreneur has an opportunity to launch and grow a business that creates wealth for themselves, their families, and/or their communities. This work is often complex and requires a distinctive set of skills, as well as a long-term commitment. These builders are, themselves, often racialized individuals who take on the work as committed volunteers or in addition to full-time jobs or businesses.

PLACE Builders Fellowship

Pava LaPere headshot

The PLACE Builder fellowship was developed in honor of Ecomap forever Chief Ecosystem Officer - Pava LaPere - and the values that she embodied so well.

PLACE (Pava LaPere Award for Cultivating Ecosystems) Builders is an intensive, 3-month fellowship program empowering these change-makers to catalyze more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems. The fellowship is inspired by the legacy of Pava LaPere, the late Co-Founder of EcoMap Technologies as a tribute to her legacy of fighting for equal access to opportunity.

PLACE Builders centers the following values:
  • Building community through mutual love of place.
  • Being a prolific connector of people and resources.
  • Breaking down barriers in the name of equity and accessibility.

Eight builders representing regions across the country will have an opportunity to build their capacity through training, peer support, and community pilots. Fellows will have access to professional mentorship, a digital toolkit, community, funding, and a platform to tell the stories about the places they love to a broader audience. By the end of the fellowship, each builder will also have identified, developed, and launched a pilot project to either address an ecosystem gap or scale something that’s working well.

Meet the Fellows

Angela Hollowell headshot

Angela Hollowell

Southeast Region
Arsh Haque headshot

Arsh Haque

Far West Region
Charlyn Moss headshot

Charlyn Moss

Rocky Mountain Region
Erica Williams headshot

Erica Williams

Plains Region
Francisco Ramos-Meyer headshot

Francisco Ramos-Meyer

Mideast Region
Justus Cornelius Pugh headshot

Justus Cornelius Pugh

Great Lakes Region
Marion Hicks headshot

Marion Hicks

Southwest Region
Sarah Spear headshot

Sarah Spear

New England Region
Magalie Yacinthe headshot

Magalie Yacinthe

Fellow Liaison

Empowering Change-Makers

  • Three month fellowship program running early April - late June designed for self-identifying equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem builders
  • Three in-person cohort events (all travel, lodging, and meal expenses will be covered by the program)

    • April 6-7: Cohort Kickoff in Baltimore, MD

    • April 30-May 2: SCN 2024 Spring Summit in Shenandoah Valley, VA

    • June 22-23: Close-out Celebration in Durham, NC

  • Weekly virtual cohort meetings led by Forward Cities (exact timing dependent on fellow availability)

  • 1:1 mentor matches with ecosystem building experts

  • Fellows will receive a stipend and small operational grant pending successful completion of the program; all travel/lodging/registration for in-person events will be covered by the program


Mentoring Opportunities

Mentors are specifically matched to PLACE Builder fellows based on the fellow’s goals and areas where they need additional support. Be part of a program to support and inspire ecosystem builders to scale their (and your) impact!


Support PLACE Builders

We invite you to support the inaugural PLACE Builders fellowship fund.

Program Directors

Fay Horwitt HeadshotFAY HORWITT


As President of Forward Cities, Fay Horwitt partners in mission and strategy for the organization and leads in program design. As an accomplished ecosystem builder and inclusive entrepreneurship expert, she uses asset-based and creative approaches to help communities build inclusive strategies into their DNA. As a sought after presenter and trainer, Fay designs and delivers in-person and virtual events, education, and interactive experiences to help organizations, companies, and individuals grow more effective and equitable human ecosystems. 



Kevin Carter headshotKEVIN CARTER


Kevin Carter is responsible for developing critical partnerships and strategies that facilitate EcoMap’s mission of making information more accessible. He has worked in the world of entrepreneurial support throughout his career, helping to launch the first student accelerator programs at Johns Hopkins University, where he first met Pava, before joining EcoMap at her behest in 2021. A long-time collaborator, co-founder, and friend of Pava, Kevin is looking forward to building one more program with her in spirit.

In partnership with

We're grateful to partner with EcoMap Technologies to empower change-makers to catalyze more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Ecomap logo


For additional information about PLACE Builders, please contact us.

Thank you to PLACE Builders supporters

Al Wood
Alex Miles
Anna Meyers
Anonymous (17)
Anthony Garay
Atlas UP team
Austin S
Benjamin Johnson
Bromo Arts District
Brooke Stephanian
Cecilia Wessinger
Cheri Soliday
Chris and Kerriann Blair
Christy Wyskiel
Chuck and Cheryll Davis
Courtney James
David Raksin
Deb Weidman
Downtown Partnership of Baltimore
Emergence Baltimore
Emily Breiter
Erica Howe

Frank Bonsal
Henry Mortimer
Hilary Roxe
Hope Chang
Jamie McDonald
Jax St.onge
Jeff Reid
Jen Leroux
Jennifer DeRose
Joanna Cheng
Joe Mechlinski
Justin Label
Karen & Stewart Wilson
Keisha Carr
Kevin Carter
Kim B
Kristen Nixon
Kristin Garcia
Kristin Speaker
Les & Dan
Live Oak Bank
LouAnn Zwieryznski

Madison Marchwinski
Malika Dia
Megan Marszalek
Micky Wolf
Mindgrub Technologies
Nancy Carter
Pat and Christina Scheper
Peter Diprinzio
Rebecca Corbin
Rob Williams
Shaina Poore
Shana Harris
Sherri Messinger
Sherrod and Kim Davis
Smitha Gopal
Stephen Speicher
Teddy Gresser
The LaPere Family
Wendy Bolger