If it weren’t for Carlos Morales, NBIA as we know it might not exist today. Morales was the founding executive director and led the Association through its first three years, from 1985-1988.
Although he didn’t have a background in business incubation, he was able to put NBIA on a path to success. From the very beginning, he knew how to get the right people involved in the organization. At about the same time he was rounding up business incubator managers to form the Association, another group began to discuss doing the same thing. Morales knew exactly how to handle the situation. He published his membership information with the names of the industry’s leaders — including June Lavelle, David Allen and Randall Whaley — on his letterhead. Without a doubt, anyone involved with business incubation wanted to be affiliated with the likes of those people. The other group received virtually no interest.
Morales formed NBIA with only a handful of members — about 40 in the first year — and it was strapped for cash. Despite that, Morales, a big promoter who was able to speak eloquently on business incubation, talked up the Association at the early business incubation conferences (held by the U.S. Small Business Administration). He signed up the organization’s first sponsors, including Control Data Corp. and Coopers & Lybrand. Morales managed to put on two national conferences and publish the first NBIA directories of incubators and the first issues of NBIA Review. He also organized training institutes held around the country.
After leaving NBIA in 1988, Morales remained committed to the industry. He established an independent consulting practice, Business Incubation International, serving clients from business and government. In 1995 Morales moved to Brussels, Belgium, and formed Carlos Morales/International Trade, providing consulting services in Western and Eastern Europe. He guided non-U.S. government and private-sector feasibility studies for targeted business incubation and economic development programs in Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. Also, he counseled various for-profit and nonprofit business incubators in the United States and foreign countries. As a development specialist he conducted seminars and research in business incubator development for a variety of international organizations. Morales eventually returned to the United States and currently is an SBDC counselor in Maryland.
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