Entrepreneurship Center Management (ECM) Certificate Program
A Entrepreneurship Center Management Certificate (ECM) is the premier industry credential for the staff of incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces, small business development centers and other entrepreneurship programs.
The only certificate of its kind
InBIA’s Certificate Program has been providing practitioners with the foundational knowledge and resources they need to run successful programs for more than a decade. The content has gone through many iterations as the industry has shifted to include new concepts and approaches, and will continue to keep up with the latest trends and best practices.
Over the years, more than 1,500 people have completed the requirements of the Certificate Program, earning the premier industry credentials to enhance their professional credibility. They have put their knowledge and skills to use supporting thousands of entrepreneurs whose startups have created countless jobs.
The ECM Certificate is recognized across the globe, so hundreds of people from international countries have completed the program by bringing the training to their local regions, participating in U.S.-based InBIA events or doing the training online. Become part of the global ECM community when you complete your certificate.
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InBIA’s latest edition of our renowned Business Incubation Management (BIM) Certificate Program, now named the Entrepreneurship Center Management Certificate Program, as it represents the development of centers that provide entrepreneurial support of different types, not just incubators. Participants are required to take four courses to complete the program, and major topics covered in the courses will include imperative entrepreneurship center development and sustained operational guidance such as (but not limited to):
- Basics of entrepreneurial ecosystem development and how to properly position your center
- Marketing to potential clients
- Ideal executive management and/or coaching staff
- Initial and follow-on fundraising
- Building targeted programming/services for clients
- Identifying, and then acquiring facility and other tangible assets for clients
- Developing pricing models for clients
- Setting graduation policies
The adapted content features several new components to the program, most notably in the courses’ complementary resource library, available on InBIA’s Exchange community, which is exclusive to members and course participants. In this library, attendees will gain unprecedented access to a wide array of case studies, templates, samples of agreements and models, resource handouts or guides for entrepreneurs, financial plan templates, and much more.
Course #1: Fostering Your Entrepreneurship Center’s Role in Your Community
- This course begins with a baseline lesson plan around Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development 101- attendees will learn how their existing or new centers will fit within the greater context of their communities’ existing assets while meeting gaps identified by funders and entrepreneurs. Once clear differentiations and value propositions to the communities are established, attendees will develop or refine their business models. Additional topics from these elements will then move on to potential client targeted outreach campaigns, community relations with a number of stakeholders, setting graduation criteria, and the development of critical metrics/key performance indicators.
Course #2: Finance and Operations for Sustainable Entrepreneurship Centers
- This course helps entrepreneurship center managers find the right mix of diverse funding sources to best keep operations running smoothly and sustainably. Participants will learn about and receive sample templates of member/tenant, private corporate sponsor/donor, and self-funding models, in addition to introductory content on how to tackle grant or other government funding pursuits. Attendees will also learn to develop or refine their budgets to meet their major operational expenses. Major operations topics include methodologies for onboarding, then tracking the progress of clients; best practices for maintaining client/tenant interactions; and how to create documentation around these concepts. Finally, course attendees will work through the creation of staffing plans and learn employee retention tactics.
ECM Course #3: Building Profitable Programs That Serve Entrepreneurs
- This course enables entrepreneurship center managers to implement best practices from throughout the industry to ensure their center is providing high-impact programs and services. This course focuses on the development and deployment of relevant services and programs to various target client portfolios (i.e. sector-specific, focused on a particular demographic, etc.), as well as how to establish effective resource or mentor networks. Program managers will be able to show stakeholders and potential clients the connection between the services they offer and the value they provide startups. They will also learn how to properly allocate resources across programs to aid companies in various stages, and receive an introduction on how to set up various small business fund mechanisms.
Course #4: Space Design, Software, and Other Ways to Streamline Operations
- No matter what provisions you offer or where in the world your center is located, this course will teach you how to design and streamline your behind-the-scenes operations and, in most cases, the physical location and space itself, to help you deliver the experience that ensures your participants thrive. Whether you are offering services in your own brick and motor, at partner or public locations, or a hybrid of these approaches, this course will teach you how to select, manage and maximize your location(s) and your processes for management and monetization. Topics covered include creating your culture with space, leveraging multiple locations, client relations and communications infrastructure, best practices for site selection, space monetization, translating your business model into space requirements, design considerations, furniture/fixture/equipment (FF&E) selection for all budgets, software solutions and IT, metrics that matter, KPIs, and meaningful reporting. Course participants will have access to sector-specific catalogs of recommendations from experienced peers for the specific needs of cleantech, biotech, ICT, advanced manufacturing, and more, enabling them to high growth through the use of shared capital equipment. The course will conclude with a capstone workshop where participants will share their most pressing challenges and engage in a collaborative discussion where everyone benefits as they learn about real life solutions to problems they may currently share, or may encounter in the future.
Complete your certificate online or in person
At the beginning of 2015, InBIA piloted the first online version of the certificate program, and since then hundreds of people have earned their certificates from the comforts of their own homes and offices. Online training helps people save on the time, hassle and expense of travel. Participants can go through the materials at their own pace within the timeframe of the course. The online version of the program allows the kind of flexibility that is necessary for some people to complete the certificate.
Registration for summer online courses are now open!
Since the program’s inception, the certificate courses have been offered in conjunction with InBIA events, giving participants at least two opportunities per year to complete requirements. The courses are also offered regionally or internationally upon request. In-person classes create an atmosphere of collaboration, and participants make connections that continue long after the courses are over. The classroom setting allows for robust discussions and group activities.
InBIA Members: $450/course
InBIA Non-Members: $550/course
ECM Certificate Bundle:
Participants who enroll in all four courses automatically save $200 on the ECM Certificate Bundle Package
Online Course Format
Online certificate courses take two weeks to complete – ten days for instruction and learning, with three outlined live webinar sessions. Each course is equivalent to seven hours of in-class training and contains the same content as the classroom-based courses, but has been specially designed for the online format. The courses are self-guided, though they include two one-hour Webinars and one office hour session with experienced instructors who will answer questions and enhance the online content with practical examples and personal knowledge. These online sessions will be recorded and made available to all participants.
Participants are not required to take all four courses at one time, however, all four courses should be completed within a 1-year (12-month) window.