June 23, 2023 


Contact: Charles Ross, President and CEO, InBIA 

[email protected] 



Community Huddle: University  

Huddle occurred on May 5, 2023 with 35 participants  

InBIA’s quarterly member huddle happened on June 23rd with a focus on university-based or -affiliated programs. With 35 participants, small groups framed conversations around questions about collaboration, integration and mindset.  

Two of the groups explored the question of what it would look like to work collaboratively with campus partners to improve client outcomes, including who the idea partners are, what positive collaboration looks like, and how to make these partnerships happen. The groups discussed how many times students do not have a way to access support, and partnerships can create opportunities to address those gaps. Other challenges include the very slow pace for universities approving programs, site middle management, and using only go-to pitch ideas. Participants discussed their own experiences and strategies in private/public partnerships and also partnering with universities.   

Two other groups addressed the question of what it would look like if entrepreneur support programs were integrated into the core missions of universities, including what steps would be required to make it happen and how this integration would change entrepreneur support. Maarten Rotman gave an in-depth review of what his university is currently doing in this area, emphasizing the importance of leadership buy-in from the top down. He also spoke to the idea of incentivizing faculty to incorporate entrepreneurship in their teaching. At the regional level, the heads of the different ESOs/universities are more willing to work together when they have incentives.  

Integrating additional material can be challenging for educators due to an already full curriculum, so there is benefit to integrating into something that already exists. If the entrepreneurship department continues to operate as a silo, other parts of the university are less likely to commit to change, especially when there is a turnover in leadership 

The group also discussed the possibility of universities tracking the number of graduated students who go on to start a business, as that metric that could be a good measure of success to share with potential students and stakeholders.   

Another group discussed the incentives to ‘prime the pump’ in order to increase the volume of ideas and technologies which commercialized by the university faculty and students. Too often, faculty research is fine for long-term increase of knowledge, but to integrate entrepreneurship, incentivizing participation is helpful. More ideas = more possible business startups. Federal grants (SBIR, STTR, NIH) could all have stronger criteria for technology being actually achievable beyond very early-stage research. 

Implementing such changes would boost the work of ESOs by having many more prospects, allowing for increased selectivity, and ultimately more successful businesses. 

The final group explored what it would look like to approach entrepreneur support with an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity one, focusing on possibilities rather than limitations, particularly how this perspective would change working with others and what possibilities it could enable for programs and clients. Group members discussed the possibilities of connecting with different experts on campus and how this type of activity would generate an environment for collaboration. Other ideas included partnering with business schools for workshops, using student volunteers, having alumni groups become mentors for current students, and creating ‘Angel programs.’ The group also touched on working in teams to create a more robust network, as well as generating a list of entrepreneurs already in your ecosystem and integrating it into your list of entrepreneurs,  

 Access the recording here: https://vimeo.com/inbia/communityhuddleuniversity?share=copy. 



About InBIA: InBIA is a global nonprofit with over 1,200 members that lead entrepreneurship centers in 32 countries. For over 30 years, InBIA has provided industry best practices through education while enabling collaboration, mentorship, peer-based learning and the sharing of innovative ideas for entrepreneurs across the globe. InBIA is the premier organization for business incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces and other entrepreneurship centers. 


For more information contact Charles Ross, President and CEO, InBIA at 678-431-1300 or visit us at www.InBIA.org