InBIA’s 33rd International Conference on Business Incubation (ICBI33) is just around the corner! To get you excited, we have compiled a list of our top six unique ICBI experiences along with testimonials from your industry peers.

1. The Business Innovation and Global (BIG) Summit

The BIG Summit is hosted by the U.S. State Department’s Sister to Sister matchmaking program, which connects participants with international peers to help client companies with future development and expansion into foreign markets. As a new offering, the 2019 BIG Summit will feature eight interactive sessions on specialized topics to create intentional, like-minded partnerships between global leaders and entrepreneurship centers.

“I think my first conference was 15 or 16 years ago and I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share what we were doing. It was and still is a good way to helps start a conversation to drive more economic development. I’ve had a positive experience every time over the past 16 years. Whether there are 25 or 100 people in the room, the people who attend are always engaged. Listening, asking questions, coming around at the end of sessions to discuss. It’s all about bringing people together and having new voices join the discussions. Creating panels is a great way to do this because it brings a diverse group of leaders together who have good perspectives on the topic. It really makes the panel more interesting.”

—Carol Lauffer, Principal, Business Cluster Development

2. Preconference

Preconference features premier, industry-specific certificate courses, train-the-trainer bootcamps, and concentrated topics for entrepreneurship center managers looking for specialized professional development. Get training, extensive resources, and templates for starting a mentoring program, learning to measure the impact of your program, learning how to encourage innovation, and more.

“My first conference was the ICIBI32 at Dallas. It’s just amazing, it’s like an all-inclusive event where you can network (worldwide), matchmaking, best-in-class speakers, learn from other failures and success, tours, etc. Yes, you ignite relations, learn the new trends, and maximize your knowledge! A big win for my center! I am looking forward to catch up with some colleges, met new people, hear about best practices in incubation and mentoring, tour Minneapolis, and also to continue with my certification.”

—Julio Quiroga, Program Coordinator, UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center

3. Keynote Speakers

InBIA is excited to have three dynamic keynote speakers this year who tirelessly work to strengthen their respective ecosystems and convey best practices to others. The keynotes for ICBI33 are Mary Grove, Founding Director for Google Entrepreneurs, Partner at Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Fund, and advisor to the Techstars Foundation; Rohit Malhotra, Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Civic Innovation and Ash Innovation Fellow for the White House Office of Management and Budget; and Melissa Kjolsing, Founding Director of Lunar Startups,  Cofounder and CEO of Recovree, and former director of MN Cup.

“I always look forward to ICBI. Inspiring keynotes, informative sessions, and, best of all, proven practices to take back to my community.”

—Krista Covey, VP Economic Development/Operations, Velocity TX

4. Innovation Tour

The Twin Cities Innovation Tour stops at some of the city’s strongest entrepreneurship centers so participants can view best practices and programs in action. This year’s tour includes the 3M Innovation Center, FINNEGANS House, Lunar Startups, Techstars Farm to Fork, and University Enterprises Laboratories.

“Great conference. I love the tours!! Great ideas to take back home. Thank you, InBIA.”

—Connie Bernal, Associate Director and Site Manager, Volusia County Business Incubator at Daytona Beach

5. ICBI Awards

InBIA seeks to recognize entrepreneurship centers that have activated sustainable, regional economic growth through innovative initiatives and successful client support throughout the world. The categories for the ICBI33 Awards include rural, specialized, technology/science, and mixed-use programs. Two of the four entrepreneurship centers will win the prestigious Dinah Adkins award, and one will get the honor of being the top entrepreneurship center of the year when it receives the Randall Whaley award.

“I am not sure where I would be with the Innovation Connector if I had not connected with the InBIA and attended their International Conference.  This organization means business! The International Conference is where I first learned that I am not alone in this innovation journey.  From the workshop sessions offered to the networking opportunities, I continue to learn the hows, whys, whens, and the whats of this business. Attending is a must.”

—Ted Baker, CEO and Executive Director, Innovation Connector

6. ICBI Hackathon

The ICBI33 Hackathon, guided by the dynamic team from Epicenter in Memphis, is an interactive plenary session where attendees will collaborate to solve common ecosystem challenges and barriers for both entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship centers. This session will not only create partnership opportunities but will also give participants new insights into their own ecosystems.

“I believe it was for the Pittsburgh conference in the mid-1980s. I was motivated primarily by the change in InBIA leadership that allowed those outside of the “good ‘ol boy network” to submit proposals. I’d been in the newly forming incubator industry for a few years at that point and felt I had learned some things that would benefit others in or entering the industry. I continue to learn things about incubators that I feel are important to share with others. I want our industry to be as strong and successful as possible, and one way to do that is to share what I have learned and also attend the annual conference to learn from others.”

—Jim Greenwood, Founder and President, Greenwood Consulting Group Inc.


All of this plus more than 40 peer-led sessions and discussions – there is a reason why ICBI is a must for anyone who is supporting entrepreneurs. Register for ICBI33 today. See you in Minneapolis!