5 best practices on how to create a financially stable entrepreneurship center

Change happens, and it can be unpredictable. Creating a financially sustainable entrepreneurship center helps to ensure that they can survive the loss any revenue stream–and continue to serve clients and generate results, whether those are jobs, new business starts, etc. Sustainability is defined as the ability to cover expenses with predictable, reliable sources of funding. To create a sustainable entrepreneurship center requires the adoption of 5 best practices.

  1. Six – eight revenue streams should be developed over time within your entrepreneurship center.
  2. The sources should be diversified, meaning a balance of public and private, and then different sources within those two very broad categories.
  3. Client fees are a revenue stream for your entrepreneurship center, but remember that entrepreneurs (especially those that are pre-revenue) cannot pay full market rate.
  4. Practice long-term planning. Financial sustainability is not achieved overnight.
  5. The most successful entrepreneurship center has financial sustainability and are adept at continuous innovation. Creating new programs and services will attract new sources of funding. And, in my experience, the keys to sustainability are planning and persistence. Get organized and keep working at it!

Guest Author: Carol Kraus Lauffer

Principal, Business Cluster Development

Since joining Business Cluster Development (BCD) as a Principal in 2002, Carol has helped 60 clients across the U.S. to plan and create successful strategies and programs that support entrepreneurship, create new businesses, move innovative products to market, and build strong ecosystems, resulting in economic diversification, job creation, business engagement, technology commercialization, and economic growth. Prior to joining BCD, Carol was Managing Director of Panasonic’s corporate, venture-backed incubator in Cupertino, California and a Principal in its $100 million venture fund.

Carol has more than 30 years of experience in economic development and management. As a dedicated member of the industry, Carol has served on association boards, including the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA, formerly NBIA) and the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). She held the post of Chair of the Board of Directors of InBIA in 2010-11. Carol is a course instructor for both organizations’ certification programs, and a frequent speaker on best practices for business acceleration/incubation, entrepreneurial support organizations and targeting technology clusters for economic development. In April 2015, InBIA honored Carol with the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, recognizing her significant contributions to the association and the industry. Carol earned a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Northwestern University. You can find more information on Carol and BCD here.