Each year, the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) recognizes business incubators and entrepreneurship centers with proven track records of excellence. These organizations and the outstanding companies they serve are the foundation for regional economic growth in communities around the world.  InBIA’s awards celebrate the heart of business incubation and entrepreneurial economic development organizations. Urban or rural, specialized, technology or mixed-use, we’re looking for high impact entrepreneurship programs that showcase excellence in sustainability growing companies that drive economic growth.


2019 Winners

Randall M. Whaley Award

Ohio University Innovation Center

Dinah Adkins Award

Black Umbrellas

Mixed-use Entrepreneurship Center of the Year



UF Innovate

Technology/Science Entrepreneurship Center of the Year

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at Gateway Community College

Specialty Entrepreneurship Center of the Year



Black Umbrellas

Rural Entrepreneurship Center of the Year



Ohio University Innovation Center

Top Awards

The Dinah Adkins Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award & the Randall M. Whaley Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award are InBIA’s two largest and most prestigious awards. The Dinah Adkins Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award pays tribute to the accomplishments and contributions of honorary life-long InBIA member and pioneer Dinah Adkins, who entered the industry in 1982 to manage the Ohio University Innovation Center, the nation’s 12th incubator. She was a speaker at the early SBA incubation conferences, became an InBIA founding member in 1985 and took over the fledgling association in 1988 as president and CEO, a position she held until her retirement in 2009. Each Dinah Adkins Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award winner receives a cash award, made possible by the generous donations of contributors to the Dinah Adkins Fund.

The Randall M. Whaley Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award is InBIA’s highest honor, dedicated to the memory of Dr. Whaley, the Association’s first chairman of the board, who served from 1985 to 1988. During Whaley’s tenure, InBIA conducted the first national conference on business incubation, published the first guide to incubator management, and first became recognized as a world leader in promoting business incubation and entrepreneurship. The award is InBIA’s only endowed award and is sponsored by the Friends of University City Science Center of Philadelphia. The University City Science Center is the urban research park and incubator Dr. Whaley managed for many years. The winner of this award also receives a cash award.

Winners of the annual Dinah Adkins Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award and Randall M. Whaley Entrepreneurship Center of the Year Award will be chosen from the applicants of the Entrepreneurship Center Member Awards.

In Honor of Randall Whaley, who served as President of University City Science Center in Philadelphia from 1970 to 1989, and was InBIA’s very first Board chairman.

In Honor of Dinah Adkins, who served as a founding member of InBIA and as InBIA’s President and CEO from 1988 to 2015.

Member Awards

Entrepreneurship centers have the opportunity to apply for an award in the category that fits best. Our panel of judges will review each application, and the center that displays the highest level of excellence in each category will receive the award for that segment. From our application the top centers will recieve one of our most prestigious awards: the Randall Whaley award for Technology Entrepreneurship Centers and or the Dinah Adkins award for Mixed-use Entrepreneurship Centers.

Client Awards

All entrepreneurship center managers have clients of which they are particularly proud. The InBIA Outstanding Entrepreneurship Center Client award provides the opportunity to showcase these clients to the incubation industry worldwide and to the public.


Why should I apply for an InBIA Incubation Award?
Winning an InBIA award generates national and community recognition of the excellence of your business incubation program. Winning programs will be profiled on InBIA’s Web site, in our e-Newsletter, at an awards ceremony at InBIA’s international conference and via news releases. Winning the award also could bring you state and local media attention, and the consequent recognition of your program’s excellence could be instrumental in helping you gain additional stakeholder support.
Does presentation matter?
While the information you provide is more important than appearance, your application needs to be neat and the requested information should be easy to find. The application should be clear and concise, providing specific information in response to the requests in the nomination materials.
How long will it take to complete an application?
Depending on the type of award, it will likely take between four and eight hours to complete an application package.
May I apply for more than one category?
Yes. InBIA members may enter as many categories as they desire.
When will I receive notification of the results of the awards judging?
An InBIA staff member will contact you by early March 2019.
I am not sure which awards I should submit nominations for.
Consider the category in which you are strongest and then choose. For example, to win an Entrepreneurship Center of the Year award, your program should have sufficient experience to compete with other mature programs that have strong track records of graduating successful companies. If your program is less mature, you may wish to describe one of your innovative programs. Although the innovative program you nominate must be excellent, a relatively lengthy incubator track record is not required to win this award.
What are some common qualities of past winning entries?

• All the requested information is provided.

• All information is easy to find.

• The application looks professional and is clear and concise.

• There is solid information on how the program has helped successful clients or graduates excel

I represent a small incubation program. How could our program expect to win when other incubators are broader in scope and have greater resources?
It isn’t the size of your incubator that matters to the InBIA judges. It is your incubator’s quality of service and how your clients have succeeded in relation to the resources you have available
How are the nominations judged?
Nominations are scored by panels of InBIA member business incubation professionals with extensive industry experience as either incubator managers or industry consultants
Are prior winners allowed to submit again?
Yes! If you have seen new successes, we want to hear about it and want you to submit!