It is difficult to pinpoint the most valuable contribution Peter Collins has made to NBIA and the business incubation industry. From the development of several member services to his term on the NBIA board to his financial sponsorship of the organization, Collins has been a highly visible and faithful supporter since the industry’s earliest days. His contributions to NBIA are an immutable part of the Association’s history.
Collins entered the industry in 1983, when he networked the professional experience of his firm, Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), with several incubators throughout the Northeast. But it was, perhaps, his guest appearance at NBIA’s first board meeting in 1986 that catapulted him into a decade of work on behalf of the industry and the Association. His sharing of best practices became the inspiration for BatorLink, an online information system developed by C&L. BatorLink networked incubators with one another and with experts at NBIA, the U.S. Small Business Administration, C&L, the Federal Laboratory Consortium and an angel investor network. C&L gave the system to NBIA, and it became a member service — now on the Internet — that is still valued by incubator managers throughout the world. Collins also developed the Business Matchmaker, a clearinghouse for strategic alliances, trade and equity investment that today is an Internet-based NBIA service for incubator clients, investors and corporate partners.
This soft-spoken gentleman’s gentleman has done a hundred things for business incubation that have added up over the years, not the least of which was keeping his colleagues involved in incubation. That has resulted in direct assistance to incubators, provision of great speakers at conference, channeling of press releases through C&L’s prime media contacts and more. At this 12th NBIA annual international conference attendees will enjoy another of Collins’ legacies. He proposed the industry’s first annual awards to recognize the incubator graduates of the year and the incubator of the year and has been involved as an awards sponsor from the beginning. He also recently proposed the NBIA Advisory Council, whose members are at conference for the first time this year. Collins represents charter member C&L on the Council.
Collins also has been an active researcher, publishing five original studies on incubation, including one documenting graduates’ growth in revenues and employment since the start of their incubator experience. He has participated in NBIA’s Government Relations, Training and Development committees and is the only sponsor to be popularly elected to the NBIA board, where he served as secretary, vice chairman and chairman.
Collins became director of entrepreneurial advisory services with C&L and a well-known consultant on feasibility and management of business incubators. He built local C&L enthusiasm and expertise to include relationships with more than 120 incubators nationwide. Collins retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2007.
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