The largest gathering of entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders on the planet

The 31st International Conference on Business Incubation (#ICBI31) is the only global forum where entrepreneurial leaders from around the world connect and converse.

Preconference: March 25-26, 2017

Main conference: March 26-29, 2017

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Sheraton Seattle Hotel 

Seattle, WA


Building Thriving Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Entrepreneurial ecosystem leaders from around the globe will gather at our conference to discover industry trends and best practices for establishing high-growth programs. Packed with 4 epic keynote presentations and over 40 sessions of interactive workshops and panels, this year’s event will be critical to improving your high-impact entrepreneurship centers. We’ll dive into how some of the world’s best entrepreneurial ecosystems operate and thrive in today’s ever-changing global economy.

Click Here to Access the #ICBI31 App



Featured Keynotes

John Harthorne

Founder & CEO, MassChallenge

MassChallenge is the largest startup-friendly accelerator on the planet. John has created a no equity and nonprofit model that rewards high-impact startups through competitions with equity-free cash awards. 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.

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. 

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. The Kauffman Foundation provides education for entrepreneurs, invest in scalable programs and metropolitan ecosystems that help companies start and grow.

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. He launched Amazon’s digital video business, digital music business, the Kindle, and the first Amazon Fire tablet. He holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Computer Science from Dartmouth College. 

What to expect at #ICBI31

A Global Audience

Each year, ecosystem leaders from more than 60 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 that will be useful to improving your program. Session speakers provide formal materials and information, along with informal conversations that often lead 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 will be 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.

Network with the best of them

Conference attendees represent a variety of program and industry types. Some of the people you will meet include:

  • 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 conference will feature more than 50 concurrent sessions presented by industry practitioners and topical experts. These sessions are grouped into six tracks to help attendees better identify which presentations will be most relevant to their specific needs. Below, you will find a color-coded grid of the sessions featured at this year’s conference. A key at the bottom of the grid indicates which color goes with each track. If you have any questions about these sessions, or if you would like more information, please contact Lindsay Schuenke at [email protected]

To download the full session grid and track information, click below.

Session Grid

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

Full Agenda

Agenda at a Glance

Saturday, March 25th

Preconference Training Courses*

8:30am – 4:00pm

Join us before the start of the main conference and take advantage of the full-day, in-depth training courses at Preconference. Our two-day Preconference is an extensive training on a wide range of topics that takes place prior to the main conference. This year we’re offering all four courses required to obtain your Business Incubation Management (BIM) Certificate, as well as other courses from InBIA’s robust training catalogue. NewCo Academy courses will certify you to train the entrepreneurs with whom you work with on specific tools and concepts, and the specialty courses will provide you with new skills and information to apply immediately at your program.

Click here to view the full Preconference Training schedule and course descriptions.

*separate registration is required

Sunday, March 26th

Preconference Training Courses*, BIG Summit*

8:30am – 4:00pm

Enroll for a Preconference Training course or attend the Business Incubation Global (BIG) Summit! This year’s BIG summit will be held in partnership with the European Union and the U.S. State Department. BIG Summit brings together international leaders from different nations dedicated to global entrepreneurial economic development to share insights for accelerating entrepreneurship centers that drive regional economic development through international alliances. You’ll have the opportunity to create on-site partnerships through pre-established matchmaking appointments, engage in interactive dialogue with international leaders, and lastly – there will also be grant opportunities provided by our partners for selected partnerships.

Click here for more information on BIG Summit.

*separate registration is required

Conference Orientation

5:00 – 6:00pm

If this is your first year, or you want to learn about what’s new for 2017, join us for Conference Orientation. We will show you highlights of the conference app and answer all of your questions about the event so you can maximize your experience. 

Let’s Mingle. Welcome Reception & Early Conference Registration

5:30 – 7:30pm

Join fellow attendees for the official conference kickoff! Grab a drink and a bite to eat in the Expo Hall while you meet up with peers and explore the products and services our exhibitors have to offer.

Monday, March 27th

Conference Keynotes, Panels, Presentations, Discussions

7:30am – 5:00pm

The first day of conference opens up with breakfast and keynote presentations from John Harthorne, CEO of MassChallenge and Steven Koltai, Managing Director of Koltai & Company. There will be a book signing after each keynote presentation, dozens of educational sessions and several networking opportunities, including breakfast in the Expo Hall, a plated lunch and interactive breaks between sessions and activities.

Tuesday, March 28th

Conference Keynotes, Panels, Presentations, Discussions

7:30am – 5:00pm

Day two opens up with a continental breakfast and keynote presentations from Steve Kessel, SVP of Amazon and Victor Hwang, VP of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. There will be a book signing after each keynote presentation, dozens of educational sessions and several networking opportunities, including breakfast in the Expo Hall, a plated lunch and interactive breaks between sessions and activities.

Member Recognition & Awards Party!

6:00 – 8:00pm

Join us as we celebrate industry excellence during the Member Recognition and Awards Party. We will recognize entrepreneurship centers, as well as their graduate entrepreneurs and member clients who are going above and beyond to support their communities.

For more information on the InBIA Member Recognition Awards, or if you’re interested in applying, click here

After the awards, join other attendees for a taste of Seattle! This city has been shaped by Italian, Polynesian and Greek immigrants, and we invite you to sample food and drinks from these different cultures. Music and activities will be arranged to help you relax after two days of conferencing.

Wednesday, March 29th

Ignite Pitch Competition

9 – 11:00am

We’re kicking the last day of conference off with an Ignite Pitch Competition – participants will give fast-paced, five-minute pitches comprised of exactly 20 slides that advance automatically, and the audience will score them in real time. So you better be ready to roll! Pitches will focus on innovative programs and strategies that have created success in supporting entrepreneurs.

The competition will include 15 pitches selected from a pool of applicants. If you’re interested in pitching, please complete the application here

Deadline to apply is March 10th!

The winner will receive:

  • $300 to apply to the innovative program or idea presented
  • Inclusion in the InBIA online Awards Showcase, viewed by visitors across the globe        
  • Recognition in the InBIA newsletter
  • A special InBIA Award Winner logo to display on website, stationery and/or marketing materials 
  • One buoy, courtesy of Turnstone.Designed for today’s movers and shakers, Buoy is a seat that’s as active as you are.”

Seattle Innovation Spaces & City Tour*

1:00 – 6:00pm

Explore three Seattle incubators, plus see some of the best of the city on our custom tour! Your tour ticket includes transportation on a luxury charter bus with stops at some of the city’s hubs of innovation, including Galvanize, Ventures and Cambia Grove. City sites include: The Ballard Locks, Pike Place Market and the Starbucks Roastery. A local tour guide will narrate and allow time at each stop to explore the venue.

*separate registration is required

Don't just take it from us

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)


Create your conference experience

Let’s do this! After 30 years, we intend to make 2017 one of the best conferences to date. We are expecting a record-breaking turn out with more in-depth Preconference Training and industry content than ever before. Click on any of the below options to get your registration started. Once you click on one of the below options, we’ll suggest related events happening at conference to ensure you create a remarkable conference experience.

Preconference Training Courses


Main Conference Registration


BIG Summit Registration


Seattle Innovation & City Tours


Travel & Accommodations


Sheraton Seattle Hotel

All of the main conference activities will take place at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, which is located close to many of the city’s downtown attractions. InBIA’s group rate is $199. Book by March 2, 2017, to be sure to reserve your spot! You can call 206.621.9000 and mention InBIA’s group rate, or register online via this link.

The address is: 1400 6th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98101, United States

Special Flight Accommodations:

InBIA has partnered with Delta Air Lines to provide discounted rates to/from Seattle, WA. The discount code is NMP33. You can book online, here.

Enter the discount code into the box marked “Meeting Event Code.” Or, to reserve by phone, call Delta Meeting reservations at 800-328-1111, Mon-Fri 7am-7pm CDT. Be sure to tell your customer services representative the meeting event discount code.

Partners, Sponsors & Exhibitors

UPS Connect

Staples Business Advantage


Carlton Fields

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