From theGround Up:

Quantifying Social Enterprise Ecosystems in the U.S.

We conducted a national study among almost 400 social entrepreneurs who helped us identify four pillars of successful ecosystems. Find out which ecosystem is right for you, and which pillars are most important for your venture.

Social Enterprise Ecosystems

What's Important to You?


This includes seed funding, grants, and venture capital (representing both public and private sources).

Quality of Life Quality
of Life

Everything from cost of living to the “energy” of a city and social spaces determine an entrepreneur’s experience.

Human Capital Human

Finding great people—as mentors, team members, employees, and advisors—is the engine of any venture.

& Receptivity

Regulations, market receptivity, and even perception and attitudes towards a social enterprise can create an environment that either nurtures or stifles social enterprise.

Rank your preferences

Rank your preferences to see where your startup can thrive.
1 = least important
10 = most important


Where Your Venture Could Thrive

Speak Up

Hear the voices of the
388 social entrepreneurs
we reached in our survey, and read what they believe makes great ecosystems tick.

“Boston is a fantastic intersection of cultural, academic, technical, innovation, and social support.”
“Investors should not be only looking for the next unicorn. There are a lot of great social enterprises doing good and making impact that will never be – or do not want to be – a giant organization making billions.”
“I chose Washington, D.C., because of the strong client and talent pools.”
“In New York City you can live in the suburbs and have easy access to everything NYC has. It’s better than San Francisco – that area's too expensive.”

Report Highlights


The San Francisco Bay Area may not be the best place for early stage social entrepreneurs to get funding.

Quality of Life

Austin, Texas, takes the trophy for quality of life.

Human Capital

Worst cities for human capital: Los Angeles and Miami.

Regulation & Receptivity

The most supportive local government: Boston.


45% of social entrepreneurs list funding as their greatest challenge.

Regulation & Receptivity

New York City ranked last in our index on Regulation & Receptivity due to poor business friendliness scores and a lack of general buzz regarding social entrepreneurship.

Start Reading
the Report


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Sponsors and Partners

Capital One Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries, Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses, and commercial clients. We apply the same principles of innovation, collaboration, and empowerment in our commitment to our communities across the country that we do in our business. We recognize that helping to build strong and healthy communities – good places to work, good places to do business, and good places to raise families – benefits us all, and we are proud to support this and other community initiatives.

A program of S&R Foundation, Halcyon is committed to solving 21st century challenges around the nation and the world by helping social entrepreneurs transform audacious ideas into scalable and sustainable ventures.