The Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year and Randall Whaley Incubator of the Year awards are InBIA’s two most prestigious awards, given to member entrepreneurship centers who have vastly contributed to their innovation ecosystems. The Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year award reflects the accomplishments of Dinah Adkins, who was the executive director of the Ohio University Innovation Center, a founding member of InBIA, and InBIA’s president and CEO for the formative years of the association, from 1988 to 2009. The Randall Whaley Incubator of the Year award honors the memory of Dr. Whaley, who served as InBIA’s first chairman of the board, and is graciously sponsored by the Friends of University City Science Center of Philadelphia, which Dr. Whaley managed for many years.
InBIA was proud to present both awards at the 33rd International Conference on Business Incubation on Tuesday, April 16. This year’s Dinah Adkins Incubator of the Year recipient was Black Umbrellas, accepted by CEO Seapei Mafoyane. Black Umbrellas, an incubator located in Cape Town, South Africa, has incubated 1,458 small businesses, created 11,827 jobs, and established nine incubators for accessible resources and mentoring to help promote the sustainable development and growth of black-owned businesses in the country.
The 2019 Randall Whaley award winner is the Ohio University Innovation Center, accepted by Director Stacy Strauss and Associate Director Tanya Conrath. Located in Athens, Ohio, the Ohio University Innovation Center has recently established the Appalachian Regional Commission-funded Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability (LIGHTS) program, which addresses the specific challenges that face rural innovators and seeks to increase the economic attractiveness of the emerging region for private investment.
Other award winners at ICBI33 included UF Innovate for Mixed-use Entrepreneurship Center of the Year and The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation at Gateway Community College for Technology/Science Entrepreneurship Center of the Year. Black Umbrellas also won Specialty Entrepreneurship Center of the Year and the Ohio University Innovation Center received Rural Entrepreneurship Center of the Year.