Why One City Hired an "Ecosystem Builder" to Support Entrepreneurs


Want to better your community but don’t know where to start? Enter It’s the Little Things: a weekly Strong Towns podcast that gives you the wisdom and encouragement you need to take the small yet powerful actions that can make your city or town stronger.

It’s the Little Things features Strong Towns Community Builder Jacob Moses in conversation with various guests who have taken action in their own places and in their own ways.


For city officials desperate to create jobs, winning over a big corporation and convincing them to set up shop in your hometown may seem like the only option. Yet in the midst of this race to the bottom, city leaders often overlook the lower-hanging fruit right in their backyard: local entrepreneurs.

And when we say “local entrepreneurs,” we’re not just talking about the tech guy working on a new app alone in his basement or that one friend you have who left their 9-5 job to “go freelance.” Not all local entrepreneurship is so solitary, and it can take some surprising forms: the at-home baker who dreams of having her own storefront bakery downtown, the college student who wants to create a local startup. And they all have the potential to be job creators in your local economy.

Of course, a thriving startup community doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Support from city leaders is invaluable to help tap this potential.

That’s why in this episode, I chat with Skyler Yost, founding member of Strong Towns and Ecosystem Builder for the city of York, Pennsylvania (a pretty cool job title, I know). For the past two years, Skyler has worked closely with local entrepreneurs to learn how the city can help foster their ideas.

In this episode, you’ll learn how you can foster entrepreneurship in your community, including how to assess existing resources, how to create an ecosystem in which entrepreneurs are supporting one another, and most important, how fostering entrepreneurship makes your place stronger and more resilient.