Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Communities Workshop


Thursday, September 7, 2023 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Governor’s Office Building 200 Madison Street, Suite 450 Jefferson City, MO 65101


The Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem workshop is a free educational opportunity for any rural community in Missouri. This one-day workshop will focus on Entrepreneurial Mindset, Equitable Ecosystems, Ecosystem Building Blocks and Support, and Preparing for the Ecosystem Building process. Our speakers will cover several tools and templates for you to better assess your community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, its assets and gaps, the role that your Main Street and partner organizations play, along with targeted next steps to map out and utilize your Ecosystem. Participants will leave with the tools and understanding of how to put the pieces of their ecosystem together equitably and with entrepreneurs in mind.

The workshop will center around Main Street America’s critical factors of ecosystem development. We encourage you to make the most of this free workshop by bringing a ‘squad.’ A community squad is a group representing as many factors as possible, ideally with a representative from each block, from the following categories: Place, Human Capital, Social Capital, Financial Capital, Education and Training, Culture, Government/ Regulation.


Download the flyer here.



Joi Cuartero Austin
Joi provides comprehensive revitalization technical services related to Economic Vitality as Senior Program Officer for Economic Vitality. Her pedigree includes being a certified economic development practitioner (CEcD) and board member with the International Economic Development Council; Board Member for IL Route 66 Byways; Board Member for Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau as well as sitting on their D&I committee; co-founder of 100 Women Who Care Adams County chapter; and collaborator for TEDx Quincy.


Fay Horwitt
Fay serves as the President & CEO of Forward Cities, where she oversees organizational strategy and serves as the executive lead of the ESHIP Communities initiative. In addition, Fay is a dedicated advocate for the emerging profession of ecosystem building, and a founding member of Ecosystems Unite. Beyond her formal roles, she is a sought after presenter, trainer, and thought leader on the topic of equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem building.

Tasha Sams

Tasha leads MSA’s rural equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem building efforts. Over and beyond Tasha’s current role, Tasha has been an ambassador to rising entrepreneurial talent among diverse populations and has cultivated accessible networks of quality and inclusion to lead next-level innovation by the promising upcoming workforce.  Recognizing the inextricable link between diversity and economic development, Tasha is an accomplished and respected leader in the national field of inclusive innovation.


Any Missouri Main Street Accredited, Associate, and Affiliate tier (including CEG) community wanting to apply for the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Rural communities grant must attend this workshop. Only communities in MMSC’s tiers under 50,000 population are eligible to apply.

Three communities will be selected to receive an Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural Communities grant for technical services from Main Street America.


Missouri Main Street Connection is a grantee of the Equitable Ecosystems in Rural Main Streets Program, led by Main Street America, in partnership with Forward Cities and supported by the Kauffman Foundation.



Sep 07 2023


10:00 am - 5:00 pm


Governor's Office Building
200 Madison St, Suite 450, Jefferson City, MO 65101

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