About National Entrepreneurship Week
NatlEshipWeek is a congressionally chartered week dedicated to empowering entrepreneurship across the United States. The annual initiative was relaunched in 2017 at NatlEshipWeek to bring together a network of partners from Maui to Miami to educate, engage, and build equitable access to America's Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. Read the relaunch story below.
NatlEshipWeek democratizes entrepreneurship by empowering all voices of entrepreneurship across the country through education, connection, and collaboration.
NatlEshipWeek envisions a national entrepreneurship ecosystem that is as diverse and rich as the citizens that are part of it.
Relaunching National Entrepreneurship Week
A grassroots effort to re-engage America’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
The journey to relaunch National Entrepreneurship Week is as entrepreneurial as its namesake.
On a snowy, sub-freezing evening in Appalachian Ohio, serial entrepreneur Joe Kapp had a vision of relaunching National Entrepreneurship Week as NatlEshipWeek in 2017. The week, designated by an act of congress in 2006 with support from the Kauffman Foundation and EntreEd, had long become dormant.
Shortly thereafter, Kapp shared his vision with entrepreneurship educator Amber Ravenscroft who quickly joined the effort to help grow manage, and co-chair the annual week-long event. The two set out to reimagine how more people could gain access to entrepreneurship resources, funding and tools. Joe set about focusing on entrepreneurs and Amber focused on entrepreneurship education. Thus NatlEshipWeek was born.
What they discovered during their work was that a general lack of awareness about entrepreneurship, available resources, emerging opportunities and access to capital markets across communities, was not isolated to just rural school systems. As their work expanded across the region, so did the frustrating realization that this lack of knowledge and awareness of entrepreneurship was pervasive in communities across the country. It was through this collaboration that National Entrepreneurship Week, congressionally chartered in 2006 with support from EntreEd and The Kauffman Foundation to focus on K-12 entrepreneurship education, was recognized as an untapped resource to engage the larger entrepreneurship ecosystem in addressing this challenge. Kapp proposed the idea of reviving National Entrepreneurship Week as a mechanism to increase awareness, education, and advocacy across all communities, expanding the definition of entrepreneurship education to support new, aspiring, and seasoned entrepreneurs. In 2017, National Entrepreneurship Week 2.0 was reborn as NatlEshipWeek.
With this fledgling idea, Kapp and Ravenscroft led the mission of restoring National Entrepreneurship Week to reach new audiences and an expanded network of stakeholders. Early partners of the NatlEshipWeek relaunch included EntreEd, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship, EveryLibrary, InBIA, RuralRISE, 1863 Ventures, the National Center for Resource Development, The EdVenture Group, and additional early adopters. The relaunch also included a number of federal agencies like the Appalachia Regional Commission, the U.S. Economic Development Administration at the Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Education, and NASA.
Today, NatlEshipWeek, with millions of social media engagements annually, has grown considerably. From Maui to Miami to Maine, communities across the country offer thousands of FREE local and virtual entrepreneurship webinars and events to uplift and empower inclusive voices of America’s Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. In 2021, an unprecedented number of Federal agencies joined NatlEshipWeek in the launch of Federal Entrepreneurship Day, hosting their own events, and engaging in social outreach on programs and resources for entrepreneurs.
NatlEshipWeek’s relaunch is a testament to the American entrepreneurial spirit that resides in and connects communities and inspires innovation. Its singular mission of increasing entrepreneurship in communities across the country culminates each year the third week of February and creates the entrepreneurial infrastructure to support new, aspiring, and seasoned entrepreneurs throughout the year.
Please join us on the NatlEshipWeek journey.
Let our network help you on your own entrepreneurship journey.
Joe and Amber