Anika Horn on Putting People First in Ecosystem Building

We often fall into this trap of only looking at the professional facet of a person rather than the people themselves. When you take the time to understand the person, what it is they want, and how you can support them, that is where the most aligned efforts stem from to keep things moving forward. This week, season 2 episode 1 of Entrepreneurship on the RISE Podcast is about putting people first in ecosystem building.


In this episode of Entrepreneurship on the RISE Podcast, Jacob and Lauren, joined by their guest Anika Horn are sharing the impact that can be made when you focus on the people and let everything else follow and how as ecosystem builders, we can deploy business as a force for good.


Sheri McGuire headshot April 2022

Anika Horn:

Anchored in her belief that a rising tide lifts all boats, she is helping champions and advocates of (social) entrepreneurship take a systems approach to supporting purpose-driven founders in their communities.

Previously, Anika co-founded Unreasonable Lab VA (Virginia’s first mini-accelerator for social entrepreneurs), Co.Starters VA (a startup program for idea-stage founders) and Rebelle Con (a conference for entrepreneurial women). She also mentored founders at the pre-accelerator at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lighthouse Labs (a nonprofit accelerator for high-growth companies). As B Keeper for local IT consultancy Impact Makers Anika helped build and grow the community of Certified B Corps and Benefit Corporations through networking, speaking engagements and presentations, events, online communication and thought leadership.

Prior to her work in North America, Anika earned a Bachelor of European Studies and Masters of Sustainability Sciences in Germany, France and Australia where she spent a decade working in journalism, non-profits, government and the private sector.

Key Takeaways

  • How travel has influenced Anika’s experience and priorities as it applies to her work in ecosystem building.
  • The struggle to find the right metrics for measuring success in ecosystem building.
  • Characteristics of a skilled ecosystem builder and tangible strategies you can implement to build social capital in your ecosystem. 
  • Finding the balance between listening and storytelling.
  • Communitiy spaces and connector’s roles in creating serendipity.


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