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Read the 2017 Summit Report Executive Summary


Summit Overview

On Thursday, November 30, 2017, more than 100 leaders from Missouri and Illinois participated in a six-hour summit focused on proactively building race and gender equity in the St. Louis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. Attendees came to the Summit to discuss existing conditions in the ecosystem and to recommend ways to advance race and gender equity for early stage technology-based enterprises. The summit’s emphasis on equity emerged from an understanding that entrepreneurs’ race and gender should not predict their business outcomes and that markets and systems should function equally well for people of all backgrounds. Participants were charged with thinking broadly about achieving equity, beyond the standard programmatic approaches to larger shifts in ecosystem dynamics and functions. The summit, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is one component of a more comprehensive initiative to align, scale and resource this work so that it yields more of a collective impact. What’s driving this movement to transform St. Louis’ business landscape is a growing recognition that bringing the opportunities of innovation and entrepreneurship to women and people of color directly intersects with the region’s economic development aims. This document provides a summary of summit activities, outcomes and discussion findings for general review and dissemination. The following figures highlight the sector attendees represented, gender identities and racial identities of attendees, and a list of speakers throughout the day.

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