Key Terms

Business support organizations (BSOs)

are resource organizations that serve local businesses and support their growth and success.


the network means to understand the needs of the network and those it serves, advocate for the network, and work intentionally to find pathways to funding for the network so it can serve the needs of small businesses.


is generally defined as a complex network or interconnected system.

Entrepreneurial asset

refer to any resource that provides support to entrepreneurs. These resources can take the form of information, programs, people, or places.

Entrepreneurial ecosystem

is that complex network and interconnections related to the support of a person (or persons) who organizes and operates a business or businesses. For the purposes of this report, “ecosystem” and “network” are used interchangeably.

Equitable access

refers to the notion that everyone in southeast Michigan interested in starting or growing a business should have the same opportunity to access resources; the opposite of a preferential network.

High-growth sectors

are industries that are adding jobs and experiencing increased revenue at greater rates than the economy as a whole.


is a guiding principle that considers all people, regardless of their abilities, race, ethnicity, or orientation, entitled to respect and appreciation as valuable members of their communities with equal access to opportunities.

Micro business

is a business with five employees or fewer, per the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s definition.

Network behavior

is the process of cultivating relationships among and between business support organizations and resources to improve outcomes for entrepreneurs.

Network of support

see “Entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

New or startup business

is a business in operation for less than two years, per most traditional lending guidelines.

Small business

is a business with fewer than 500 employees, per most federal guidelines.

Small business support network

is a group of separate nonprofit, public and for-profit organizations, called business support organizations (BSOs), with a shared mission to support small businesses.

Underserved community

is a historically neglected community that has failed to receive the same economic opportunities as their preferential counterparts. Because of systemic neglect, racism and structural barriers, underserved communities typically have more residents with low incomes, more women and more people of color.

Underserved entrepreneurs

refers to those who do not receive economic opportunities in proportion to their availability and qualifications.