EcoMap and Forward Cities Pave Way for Ecosystem Changemakers

Applications open for inaugural PLACE Builders fellowship created in honor of late CEO 

Applications for PLACE Builders, a fellowship program designed to honor the legacy of late EcoMap Technologies (EcoMap) CEO and co-founder Pava LaPere, will open today, February 19. The deadline for applications is Sunday, March 3

PLACE (Pava LaPere Award for Cultivating Ecosystems) Builders will be an intensive, four-month fellowship program empowering changemakers to catalyze more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems. The program was jointly developed by EcoMap, a category-defining ecosystem intelligence AI software company, and Forward Cities, a national nonprofit that works with partners to build equitable entrepreneurial communities. The fellowship is inspired by EcoMap’s forever “Chief Ecosystem Officer” LaPere and is a tribute to her legacy of fighting for equal access to opportunity.

Eight builders representing regions across the country will have an opportunity to build their capacity through training, peer support, and community pilots. Fellows will have access to professional mentorship, a digital toolkit, community, funding, and a platform to tell the stories about the places they love to a broader audience. 

By the end of the fellowship, each builder will also have identified, developed, and launched a pilot project to either address an ecosystem gap or scale something that’s working well.

“Pava’s love of place was infectious, and our goal is to use this fellowship as a way to put the spotlight on ecosystem builders who embody those same values,” said Kevin Carter, Director of Business Development for EcoMap. “She believed it was our duty as citizens to make the places we live and work better. We look forward to supporting these builders as they carry out the type of critical, community-based work that Pava championed.” 

Builders accepted into the program will gather in Baltimore for the inaugural meeting of the fellows and the program on April 6 at FastForward U on the same day Johns Hopkins University will dedicate and rename the space to the Pava Marie LaPere Center for Entrepreneurship.

As of today, 80+ supporters have donated over $23,000 to the fellowship, and EcoMap has charged the community to help them meet their $100,000 goal by the cohort’s first meeting on April 6. Funds will sustain the program in the years to come, helping cover fellow stipends, operational grants for their pilot projects, travel expenses for the in-person cohort retreats, and additional programmatic support. 

“PLACE Builders and Pava’s vision are directly aligned with Forward Cities’ vision of growing and sustaining more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems,” said Fay Horwitt, President and CEO of Forward Cities. “We are proud to be a part of this partnership to uncover the potential of these builders and remove barriers to opportunity.” 

To complete an application or donate, click here.

About EcoMap Technologies
EcoMap Technologies’ leading ecosystem intelligence AI software transforms the way hyperlocal information is accessed. By centralizing key resources, EcoMap unites and strengthens networks and communities by connecting them. Using configurable, data-driven platforms, their mission is to develop infrastructure that powers ecosystems to create a future where knowledge and networks have no limits, and everyone has access to sustainable and equitable growth. To learn more, visit

About Forward Cities 

Forward Cities convenes entrepreneurial champions within and across communities, providing dynamic opportunities for shared learning through action-learning networks designed to build support ecosystems that catalyze equitable wealth-building opportunities. For more information, visit