Orlando, Florida—Earlier this month, InBIA held its annual awards ceremony to recognize excellence in entrepreneur support during the 38th annual International Conference on Business Incubation. This event was held April 14-17 in San Antonio, Texas. Awards included Entrepreneur Support Organization (ESO) of the year in multiple categories, specialty awards, and the field’s  most prestigious awards, the Randall M. Whaley and the Dinah Adkins Awards.  

Georgia Southern University took top honors with two different programs: the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group (BIG), which was named the Mixed-Use ESO of the Year, and the BIG Metter Business Incubator (MBI), which received the honor of Rural ESO of the Year. BIG also received both the Dinah Adkins Award for Non-Technology-Based ESO of the Year as well as the Randall M. Whaley ESO of the Year Award. “Through the InBIA awards program, we celebrate exceptional organizations that catalyze entrepreneurship for their communities.  Congratulations to the Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group on their well-deserved recognition.  Their commitment to high-quality programing, organizational excellence and community impact is truly inspiring.”  -Charles Ross, President and CEO, InBIA

 Based in Statesboro, GA, Georgia Southern University is leveraging its programs to develop a vibrant entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem for the southeast Georgia region. The BIG provides resources and training for students to gain skills and understand business principles, to experience how businesses operate, and to successfully launch new enterprises. 

The Randall M. Whaley award is InBIA’s highest honor. Dedicated to the memory of Dr. Whaley, who served as InBIA’s first chairman of the board from 1985 to 1988, the award is sponsored by the Friends of the University City Science Center of Philadelphia. 

The Dinah Adkins award pays tribute to the accomplishments and contributions of Dinah Adkins, a pioneer in the business incubation industry. Adkins was one of the founding members of InBIA when it was established in 1985 as the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA – the name changed in 2015) and was appointed as the association’s president and CEO in 1988.

Two years ago, InBIA launched another prestigious award – the Julius Morgan Diversity and Inclusion Award, dedicated to the first African American member of NBIA’s Board of Directors (1990-1996). Morgan symbolized a new brand of business incubators – those bringing economic development to urban entrepreneurship ecosystems – and he is credited with bringing the Milwaukee Enterprise Center (MEC) into fruition. The winner of the 2024 Julius Morgan Award is LAUNCH, a Chattanooga, TN-based program that empowers individuals and communities through entrepreneurship, ultimately building equity for all people. 

Award winners in all the categories include: 

  • 2024 Dinah Adkins – Technology based: USF CONNECT
  • 2024 Dinah Adkins – Non-Technology based: Georgia Southern University BIG
  • 2024 Entrepreneur Support Organization of the Year Award Technology & Science:  USF CONNECT
  • 2024 Entrepreneur Support Organization of the Year Award Mixed-Use: Georgia Southern University BIG  
  • 2024 Entrepreneur Support Organization of the Year Award Sector Focused:  LAUNCH
  • 2024 Entrepreneur Support Organization of the Year Award Rural: Georgia Southern University MBI
  • 2024 Specialty Award Most Innovative Program: Alloy Growth Lab 
  • 2024 Specialty Award Outstanding Client: USF CONNECT
  • 2024 Specialty Award Diversity and Inclusion: LAUNCH
  • 2024 Specialty Award Soft Landings: UF Innovate|Accelerate
  • 2024 Specialty Award Excellence in Communications: Texas Tech University Innovation Hub

About InBIA

InBIA is a global nonprofit empowering entrepreneur support organizations in every U.S. state and in over 30 countries. With over 39 years of experience, InBIA has been a guiding force in providing industry best practices, fostering collaboration, mentorship, and the exchange of innovative ideas for entrepreneurs worldwide. InBIA is the go-to organization for business incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces, and other entrepreneurship centers.

For general press-related questions, please contact Charles Ross at [email protected].