Since the day he entered the industry, Mark Rice has been recognized as a first-rate, selfless individual devoted to his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his incubation program and NBIA.
Rice became director of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Incubator Center in Troy, N.Y., in 1988, eight years after it opened, and within a year he was elected to the NBIA Board of Directors. In 1990, his commanding presence, expertise and generosity led to his being named board chairman. Rice led NBIA in an exemplary fashion, bringing prestige and commitment to an organization that was just beginning to gain stability. Commitment to incubation didn't end with his two-year tenure as chairman. In 1993 he became director of the Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, the program he cofounded in 1988 to serve as a bridge between the Lally School of Management and Technology at RPI and the RPI Incubator Center. That same year he conducted the first of several training programs for the development of incubators in the Ukraine.
One of Rice's most valuable contributions to the industry was the book Growing New Ventures, Creating New Jobs: Principles and Practices of Successful Business Incubation, which he wrote and edited with Dr. Jana Matthews, of the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. When it was published in 1995 by CEL, the book spurred a rebirth of interest in the industry, demonstrating that intelligent and strategic business incubation could result in a generous return on investment. Growing New Ventures serves as a basic text on the subject and was the first book to speak for the industry by incorporating the experiences of many high-level incubator managers.
In 1995, the RPI Incubator Center received the Randall M. Whaley Incubator of the Year Award, NBIA's mark of highest achievement. Although the RPI incubator was clearly exemplary in the years when Rice was at the helm, he wouldn't allow the incubator to apply for the award until after leaving the directorship.
Rice continues his devotion to understanding entrepreneurship and the needs of entrepreneurs. He is recognized as a worldwide expert on the establishment of new ventures. Rice remains an NBIA member as Frederic C. Hamilton Professor for Free Enterprise at Babson College—home of one of the world’s leading entrepreneurship studies programs—and professor of technology entrepreneurship at the Olin College of Engineering.
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