The 33rd International Conference on Business Incubation (ICBI33) featured knowledge sharing and networking opportunities with the goal of invigorating entrepreneurship center management towards concerted change for the global ecosystem. As InBIA seeks to standardize best practices across the industry, we have provided some of the top takeaways from the conference as valuable assets for future entrepreneurship support:

  1. Promoting diversity and inclusion should be a key part of an entrepreneurship center’s programming, strategy, leadership, metrics, etc. but should not be just an add-on. Avoid silos of support; look towards building diversity from within through community outreach instead of creating specialized groups targeting specific demographics.
  2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Tap into strategic partnerships with other resource providers or programs to build a complementary platform for different types of entrepreneurs and their needs.
  3. Currently, there is a lot of competition among organizations serving startup companies; don’t seek to become part of that trend as it becomes frustrating for clients. Differentiate your value propositions so that you are filling in a gap that has yet to be filled in your market. This differentiation will also aid your organization’s efforts towards funding.
  4. The client base for entrepreneurship centers is changing. Change to meet the needs of different generations, not just different types of startups. Look towards incorporating different learning methods, including varied online services and innovative technology, within your programming. Less intimidating venues for younger entrepreneurs may be helpful in reducing perceived barriers.
  5. Create networking opportunities that intentionally seek to eliminate the obstacle of anxiety. ICBI33 would not be as impactful without the experience of collaboration and a welcoming atmosphere—make sure you are building the same kinds of opportunities for your community as well! This will also promote diversity as potential innovators feel more comfortable having a seat at your table.
  6. Welcome new entrepreneurship centers and ecosystem builders to the table. Give them the opportunity to make a difference with you. You are all working towards the same goal of supporting entrepreneurs and uplifting your communities.

Thank you all for your insightful discussions, and we look forward to seeing you at ICBI34!