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 27-29, 2017

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Sheraton Seattle Hotel 

Seattle, WA


Early bird pricing expires

January 31st, 2017

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.

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

Official bio coming soon!


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.

Agenda at a Glance

Saturday, March 25th

Preconference Training Courses*

8:30am – 4:00pm

Join us before the start of our 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, and this year we’re offering all four courses required to obtain your Business Incubation Management (BIM) Certificate. We’re also offering other courses including some from our NewCo Academy, which certifies participants to train entrepreneurs, and from our specialty course selection covering program metrics and creating an exciting startup community.

Click here to view the full preconference schedule.

*separate registration is required

Register for Preconference

Sunday, March 26th

Preconference Training Courses*, BIG Summit*

8:30am – 4:00pm

Sign up for a Preconference course or join in the Business Innovation Global (BIG) Summit! This year’s summit will be held in partnership with the U.S. State Department, which will be running their Sister Center Workshop as part of the agenda. This matchmaking program creates on-site partnerships between organizations in different countries. The BIG Summit will also feature thought leaders from Latin America, India, Canada, the U.S. and Ireland, who will be discussing global economic development as well as what is happening with entrepreneurship in their specific ecosystems. Grant opportunities from the U.S. State Department and the European Union will also be explained. 

Click here for more information on BIG Summit.

*separate registration is required

Register for Preconference

Register for BIG Summit


Let’s Mingle. Welcome Reception & Early Conference Registration

4:00 – 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 offer to make your job easier.

Monday, March 27th

Conference Keynotes, Panels, Presentations, Discussions

7:30am – 5:00pm

Our 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 breaks between sessions and activities.

Member Recognition & Awards Banquet*

6:00 – 10:00pm

Join us as we celebrate industry excellence during the Member Recognition and Awards Banquet. During this formal dinner, we will recognize the programs that are going above and beyond to support entrepreneurs and create high-impact ecosystems. Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what the best programs in the world are doing, and to enjoy an evening out with your peers.

More information on the awards banquet will be coming soon.

*separate registration is required

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 breaks between sessions and activities.


6:00 – 8:00pm

Come celebrate with us as we enjoy a taste of Seattle! This city has been shaped by Italian, Polynesian and Greek immigrants, and this is your opportunity to sample food and drinks from these different cultures. There will also be music and activities to help you relax and enjoy 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 the 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, contact Heather Deyrieux at [email protected] for more information on the application process. 

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 

Seattle City Tours*

11:30am – 5:00pm

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, Impact Hub and Ventures. 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

More information on city tours will be coming soon.

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 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, Executive Director (Innovation Connector in Muncie, Indiana)

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