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.
Increase entrepreneurship in communities across the United States
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.
Over dinner on a snowy, sub-freezing evening in Appalachian Ohio, serial entrepreneur Joe Kapp, Co-Founder of the National Center for Resource Development, along with two entrepreneurial educators, Amber Ravenscroft, Manager of Innovation of The EdVenture Group and Toi Hershman, Director of Programming of EntreEd, discussed plans for reviving the dormant week-long event. The Appalachian-based team was in rural Ohio working on a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to educate students in coal-affected communities in Appalachian Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia and inspire them to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. This project, in collaboration with the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship was designed to revitalize rural communities by providing entrepreneurship education to every student, every year.
What they discovered during their work was a general lack of awareness about entrepreneurship, available resources, emerging opportunities and access to capital markets across communities, not isolated to local 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