Founder Institute Community & Content Manager, Dustin Betz, has elaborated on the open-source knowledge mapping canvas brought to you on the TFF Digital Labs by the Founder Institute. Founder Institute has helped launch over 3,500 companies across 180+ cities and six continents. Their content will help you find local resources and information that will immensely support your early day startup development. Find and collaborate on their Startup Ecosystem Canvases with essential resources for every entrepreneur on the Knowledge Lab and be sure to register today & join us on October 16th, World Food Day!

Can you start by telling us a bit more about your work?

I edit the Founder Insights blog and the accompanying newsletter. As a content creator and startup community curator, my work at the Founder Institute (FI) seeks to elevate changemaker entrepreneurs from within our global network of 3500+ portfolio companies. In terms of the FI itself, we are the world’s largest pre-seed accelerator program with chapters across 180+ cities and 65+ countries. We believe there are talented people everywhere whose potential can be unlocked to make an impact on the world through entrepreneurship, and our mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology-enabled companies worldwide.

You are bringing the Startup Ecosystem Canvases onto the TFF Digital Labs. What information can participants find on the canvases?

Our city-specific Startup Ecosystem Canvases each include hundreds of localised startup resources, organised roughly into their utility for idea-stage (inspire, educate, validate), launch-stage (start, develop, launch), and growth-stage ventures (recognition, funding, growth). These canvases are basically resource lists and include information such as local startup media, events, accelerators, incubators, investors, and much more.

Dustin Betz, Founder Institute Community & Content Manager

Participants can add to the canvases and help make them more complete. Or request new lists for cities that don’t have a canvas yet. How can open-sourcing knowledge support entrepreneurs in their startup journey?

In terms of open-source knowledge mapping, we like to say that “it takes a city to raise a startup.” As an accelerator with a global footprint, the FI recognises that the knowledge of how best to leverage local resources comes from within those communities, where people know the latest developments. The Startup Ecosystem Canvas open-editing (via Google Docs) is an invitation for anyone passionate about facilitating innovation within their communities to contribute in helping us improve these freely available resource lists, which can help individual entrepreneurs understand the landscape of everything that is immediately available to them within their own cities.

What impact does open-sourcing knowledge have on the speed and likelihood of industry innovation?

Industry innovation that springs from entrepreneurial organisations, as well as individuals, can be supported by open-sourcing knowledge. Larger organisations often externalise much of their innovation & development by observing what happens outside their organisations first and then bringing it in-house, working with disruptive or innovative companies. The ecosystem canvases include information like major local employers and home-grown company success stories so that earlier-stage ventures have ideas about what type of larger organisation may be available to partner with locally when moving forward.

The TFF Digital Labs is a startup accelerator and collaboration platform built for food and agriculture innovators. What is your motivation to contribute to the Labs?

I have been involved with Thought For Food since 2013 I believe, and TFF’s support for my ventures launched during college (GreenTowers and then BEEcosystem) was really instrumental in validating my teams’ early progress and the path forward as agripreneurs. I can’t overstate the importance of building a community of like-minded people who are interested in tackling the same types of problems—especially for young, first-time entrepreneurs working within a niche space. Since joining the FI’s HQ team and seeing the Startup Ecosystem Canvases project grow, I believe that connecting these tools with other global startup organizations like TFF is the best way to support this open-sourced resource mapping project—so I see these partnerships as very clear win-win for both organizations, that can really help to support innovators across the world.

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