Mission Investments

New Haven Equitable Entrepreneurship Ecosystem (NHE3)

NHE3 is facilitating the growth of entrepreneurial pathways to economic independence and generational wealth.

North Green Sunrise, New Haven Credit: Chris Randall

Entrepreneurship has the power to transform lives, build individual and community wealth, and catalyze positive change. New Haven is at an important inflection point; by boosting entrepreneurship and small business growth within under-connected communities, the community has the potential to undo structural inequities and remove the barriers to job creation.


The New Haven Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (NHE3) was conceived by The Community Foundation (TCF) to build an equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem designed for historically marginalized entrepreneurs, such as those who identify as Black, Latinx, and women, in order to:

  • Build individual and family wealth through financial independence.
  • Create community wealth and community power.
  • Build generational wealth.
  • Support structural change and remove barriers of structural racism.
  • Create jobs and economic sustainability.

What is entrepreneurial ecosystem building?

The ecosystem building work of NHE3 is part of a national movement that sees an energized culture of entrepreneurship as a sustainable way to revitalize communities and neighborhoods that have suffered from disinvestment. Below is an introduction to the concept of ecosystem building presented by The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, followed by a playbook for anyone interested in this emerging field.

"In the modern economy, every community has the opportunity to become a thriving ecosystem." Kauffman Foundation

New Haven Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (NHE3)

The purpose of the New Haven Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (NHE3) is to convene leaders, community members, and entrepreneurs in implementing short-term infrastructure projects and devising a long-term strategic plan.

The two-year engagement in New Haven will be led by the NHE3 Council: a group that leads NHE3 implementation by providing guidance and making key decisions about this work. This team is supported by residents, NHE3 staff, TCF, the New Haven Innovation Collaborative (NHIC), and local funding partners. The Council is designed to be an inclusive, diverse, multicultural, multisector group of leaders, activists, and entrepreneurs who are using this work to achieve more racial, gender, and economic equity.

The Council Will Work To:

  • Identify key barriers to local entrepreneurial engagement.
  • Develop community-fed solutions to overcoming these barriers.
  • Implement these solutions in short-term pilot projects.

Council Members

  • Carolyn Gonzalez — Community Development Officer, Capital for Change
  • Genevieve Walker — President and CEO, ConnCAT
  • Luis Luna — Co-Founder, Semilla Collective
  • Gerry Garcia — Small Business Counselor, City of New Haven Economic Development
  • Paul Bryant-Hudson — Founder, The Kitchen
  • Miguel Pittman — Co-Owner, Sandra's Next Generation
  • Mark Abraham — Executive Director, DataHaven
  • Marina Rodriguez — New Haven Director, All Our Kin
  • Jewu Richardson — Community Organizer, CT Bail Fund
  • Ashleigh Huckabey — Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter New Haven
  • Devin Avshalom-Smith — Founder, Newhallville Community Action Network
  • Donna Lecky — Founder, Health Haven Hub

The Team

NHE3’s team of local staff shall have the day-to-day responsibility of working with and supporting the NHE3 Council, the funding partners, and the community for the creation and long-term sustainability of the ecosystem.

Partner Organization


New Haven Innovation Collaborative is an organization of entrepreneurs, researchers, and community builders focused on promoting, connecting, and enabling the ideas and talents that fuel the future of New Haven’s diverse innovation sectors, in life sciences, digital technology, and creative and cultural economies.

Data for you: interactive indicators for Greater New Haven

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Arthur W. Thomas III
Director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives and Inclusive Economic Opportunity