The largest gathering of entrepreneurial ecosystem builders on the planet

When: April 22 - 25, 2018

32nd International Conference on Business Incubation

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Where: Sheraton Dallas

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Building Thriving Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Over 600 entrepreneurial ecosystem builders from 42 countries gathered at our last international conference in Seattle, WA to discover the newest industry trends and best practices for building entrepreneurial ecosystems. The conference was packed with 4 epic keynote presentations, 50+ sessions of interactive workshops and panels, as well as an array of invaluable networking events focused on forging global collaboration.


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2017 Recap: Featured Keynotes

John Harthorne

Founder & CEO, MassChallenge

John has created a no equity and nonprofit model that rewards high-impact startups through competitions with equity-free cash awards at MassChallenge. Through his global network of accelerators in Boston, the U.K., Israel, Switzerland and Mexico, his team at MassChallenge has contributed to raising $1.8 billion in funding, generated over $700 million in revenue and helped to create 60,000 jobs. John gave a warm and humorous presentation on MassChallenge’s unique accelerator model.

Steven Koltai

Managing Director, Koltai & Company

A 30-year entrepreneurial veteran, Steven served as senior advisor to the U.S. State Department and created the Global Entrepreneurship Program, a central element of President Obama’s strategy for changing the relationship between the U.S. and Muslim communities. He also developed KolCo’s Six + Six Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Model, and is the author of  Peace Through Entrepreneurship, Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development. Steven gave a powerful presentation on the effect entrepreneurship has on global peace, balance and sustainability. 

Victor Hwang

VP of Entrepreneurship, The Kauffman Foundation 

A well-established author, entrepreneur and powerhouse ecosystem builder, Victor has launched many Silicon Valley venture-backed startups and was the founder of Global Innovation Summit, a conference with delegates from more than 50 nations focused on building innovative ecosystems. Victor gave an incredible presentation on the branches of the ecosystem “rainforest” and urged attendees to focus on their “why” – showcasing the significant impact entrepreneurship centers have on entrepreneurial ecosystems. 

Steve Kessel

SVP, Amazon

Steve serves as senior vice president at Amazon and  currently leads the Amazon Book and Amazon Go stores.  Previously, Steve served in many roles since joining the company in May of 1999, including senior vice president, Worldwide Digital Media. Steve gave attendees a rare and unique glimpse inside Amazon’s main covenants of innovation, while also discussing the many ways in which Amazon fuels innovation across all facets of the company while maintaining core values that propel creativity.

Attendee Takeaways

Global Audience

Each year, ecosystem leaders from more than 42 different countries attend our conference to gain new skills, learn about global trends and connect with colleagues from a variety of backgrounds. More than 1/3 of conference attendees come from outside the U.S., creating an audience with diverse experiences and perspectives.

Ecosystem Trends, Resources and Idea Sharing

The entrepreneurial support community has traditionally been marked by an openness and willingness to share, this makes our conference an excellent venue for exchanging ideas and gathering resources. Session speakers provided formal materials and information, along with informal conversations that led to new thoughts and shared resources.

Community Connections

We represent the largest group of incubation and other entrepreneurial ecosystems leaders in the world, and our conference is where everyone comes to connect as a community. There were plenty of activities designed to facilitate these connections, as well as the casual opportunities that come with gathering together in one of the most vibrant cities in the U.S.

Fostering Global Collaboration

Conference attendees represented a variety of program and industry types. Some of the people present included:

  • Business incubator/accelerator professionals
  • Coworking/makerspace managers
  • Community ecosystem influencers and co-creators
  • Economic development leaders/ policymakers
  • University leadership

Session Tracks, Sessions and Industry Related Topics (the heart of conference)

The conference featured more than 50 concurrent sessions presented by industry practitioners and topical experts. These sessions were grouped into six tracks to help attendees better identify which presentations were most relevant to their specific needs.

To view the full 2017 session grid with descriptions and track information, click below.

Session Grid

To view the full 2017 conference schedule that included networking and other activities, click below.

Full Agenda

What other people are saying

I am not sure where I would be with the Innovation Connector if I had not connected with 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, Executive Director (Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana)


2017 Partners, Sponsors & Exhibitors

UPS Connect

Staples Business Advantage


Carlton Fields

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