Thank You to Our ESHIP Council Members

June 18, 2021 | By

Megan North Shuford

We would like to say THANK YOU to all of our ESHIP Communities Council Members in Baltimore, Kansas City, Long Beach, and New Mexico! We know it’s a choice for you to be here and we are so grateful you are here as a part of our ESHIP council member and partner community. We know that many of you have been doing this work long before anyone was talking about equity in entrepreneurial ecosystem building, and we know you’ll be doing it long after new language comes along to define it again.

Each of the four ESHIP Communities brings together local councils of ecosystem builders, entrepreneurs, and grassroots leaders who work collectively to solve unique challenges in their community. Every council member brings distinctive strengths, perspectives, and deeper 'why' that drives them in their ecosystem building. Read on to learn more about what drives ESHIP Communities council members Jonathan, Hadiza, Leigh, and Lucy!


Photo of Jonathan MooreJonathan Moore | Rowdy

The WHY has always been crystal clear:

  • build sustainable communities that will outlive
  • increase the economic footprint
  • drive community-based IP to influence metrics-driven advocacy to solve local civic concerns

Since the day I learned about Rosewood and Black Wall Street, I've been just a little bit obsessed with "how do we recreate this history?". When pivoted to focus on digital infrastructure, a light bulb went off and I thought "I might be able to do this by leveraging Wifi."

Within the next 3-5 years, we look forward to experiencing hyperlocal Worker-Owned Cooperatives, while local residents obtain the necessary metrics and data, to develop community-based health initiatives. These bottom-up health initiatives can begin to challenge the social determinants of health disparities and create strategic partnerships to drive long-term revenue with the ability to provide career employment.

Being on the ESHIP Council has helped paint a much larger picture {of our ecosystem}, while introducing me to new revenue and cooperative models. It’s really stretching my thought process and almost pushing my intellectual curiosity to a completely different level.


Photo of Hadiza Sa-aaduHadiza Sa-Aadu | Kansas City Public Library 

What I know is that collaboration is the only way to find solutions through experimentation, feedback, and refining. That ranges from internal collaboration to working with other entrepreneur support organizations, library systems, and most importantly entrepreneurs themselves. The more we can come together in the spirit of sharing resources and networks, while seeking input from entrepreneurs in the community, the faster we can come to equitable solutions for entrepreneurs navigating the underground ecosystem. In a COVID-19 world, libraries are especially poised to deliver value in this space, especially those that are new to providing small business services. Read Hadiza’s Full Article


Photo of Leigh LesterLeigh Lester | Ubuntu Institute Learning

My deeper "Why" behind my role as an entrepreneurial ecosystem builder and ESHIP Long Beach council member is I am a female, POC entrepreneur and I know the way out of poverty is via entrepreneurship. I want to see these opportunities provided to historically devastated, under-resourced communities.

In the next 3-5 years in Long Beach, I want to see a boom in POC businesses, a greater connection between the LatinX, Cambodian and Black communities, and an increase in average incomes for people of color. Being a member of the ESHIP council has given me hope that this can be a more collaborative effort.


Photo of Lucy FomaLucy Foma | Santa Fe County Govt 

As a planner, I get excited about how systems interact and change. The current food system is so relatively new and yet people feel like it’s been this way forever and can’t possibly shift. We are at a pressure point where the food system must change, yet we shouldn’t be fearful. It just makes sense to support our local food producers while making better-quality and culturally significant food available to more people. I believe that the way we grow, sell, buy, and eat can be so much better for everyone.



Thank you ESHIP Council Members for making your ecosystems more equitable
Thank you ESHIP Council Members for stepping up to create equity