NBIA's 23rd International Conference

For more information, call (740) 593-4331 or email education@nbia.org.

Conference Sessions

NBIA’s conference will feature 60 sessions, each hand-picked by NBIA staff to reflect the industry’s most critical issues. These 75-minute sessions will include lectures, panels, roundtable discussions and forums and offer educational opportunities for any experience level. Most sessions are described below, but we will add to this list as we confirm details. Please stay tuned to this page to find additional information as it becomes available.

This year, we are offering a session track specific to incubation professionals who have been in the industry for more than four years. These sessions are indicated with a Advanced Session.

Monday, May 19, 9 – 10:15 a.m.

Self-Sustainability: Is It Achievable?

NBIA's best practices include self-sustainability, but what does “sustainability” mean and how does it differ depending on your program’s circumstances? Learn about various approaches to sustainability and find out how your incubation program can create plans for achieving it based on your unique situation.
Jim Greenwood, President, Greenwood Consulting Group, Sanibel, Fla. 
Gordon Hogan, Director, University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, Orlando, Fla.

Boost Your Value to Clients Through Better Mentoring and Coaching

An effectively structured mentoring system can improve a program’s success. Learn how to set up and leverage a successful mentoring program, discover what to consider when hiring mentors, and find out how to build accountability into mentoring.
Thomas Hordam, Director of Development, Lejre Municipality, Lejre, Denmark
Shane Pegg, Vice President of Operations, Accelerator Centre, Waterloo, Canada
David Terry, Executive Director, West Texas A&M University Enterprise Network, Amarillo, Texas

Incubator Marketing Strategies

Find out how to create a marketing plan that won’t break the bank. Learn how to do market assessments and research, and how to create a strategic marketing plan with information gathered. The presenter will also cover metrics that will help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing.
Mark Long, President, Long Performance Advisors, Ellettsville, Ind.

Advanced SessionRoundtable: Understanding Angel Investment Challenges for Start-ups

This roundtable discussion will begin with a discussion on angel investing in today’s ecosystem. The conversation will focus on the challenges that start-ups face in obtaining capital and what leading incubator managers are doing to aide their clients in that endeavor.
John Hanak, Statewide Director, Purdue Technology Centers, Indianapolis, Ind.
John Sydnor, Senior V.P. of Venture Acceleration and Strategic Initiatives, TechColumbus, Columbus, Ohio
Tom Vanneman, CEO, Ultra Athlete, Indianapolis, Ind.

Monday, May 19, 10:45 a.m. – Noon

Cultivating Donor and Benefactor Relationships

This session will give you strategies for finding donors and keeping them happy after they have invested in your incubation program. You’ll learn ways to use your networks to find potential donors, strategies for talking with them to discover their needs, and simple steps for keeping them informed.
Katherine Cota-Uyar, Associate Director, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Maximizing Your Food Incubation Program

Learn how a food incubator can create a cluster of interconnected companies, suppliers, service providers and institutions. Explore cluster development, revenue enhancement and economic activities around food, natural products and brewing. Presenters will share examples from their work.
Lou Cooperhouse, President & CEO, Food Spectrum, Princeton, N.J., and Acting Director, Rutgers Food Innovation Center, Bridgeton, N.J.
Mary Lou Surgi, Founding Director, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Asheville, N.C.

Operating a Biotech Incubation Center

Want to know the details of operating a biotechnology facility?  This session will cover topics your laboratories and clients might face, including equipment, policies, procedures, facilities management and more. Come learn from these experienced panelists, who will discuss all things related to biotechnology incubation.
Patti Breedlove, Director, Sid Martin Biotechnology Innovation Center, Alachua, Fla.
Mark Long, President, Long Performance Advisors, Ellettsville, Ind.
Merrie Shaw, Program Manager, Sid Martin Biotechnology Innovation Center, Alachua, Fla.

How to Meet Clients’ Debt and Equity Needs

The presenters will describe various debt and equity products and programs that can support client companies at various stages of development. Learn how to determine whether to provide funding through an in-house program or through partnerships with outside providers.
John Hanak, Statewide Director, Purdue Technology Centers, Indianapolis, Ind.
Devon Laney, President & CEO, Innovation Depot, Birmingham, Ala.
Chuck Wolfe, President, Claggett Wolfe Associates, Auburn, Calif.

Advanced SessionRoundtable: Strengthening Incubators’ Roles In Regional Innovation Systems

The innovation/entrepreneurship space is dynamic, requiring us to embrace new roles and approaches to sustain meaning in our regional economies. This discussion will explore the central characteristics of successful venture development organizations and outline next steps for improving your organizational strategies.
Mark Skinner, Director, Regional Innovation Acceleration Network, Westerville, Ohio
Tom Walker, CEO, TechColumbus, Columbus, Ohio

Monday, May 19, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Crowdfunding Done Right

Picking the best platform, creating a great video and providing exciting, valuable rewards can increase the odds of having a successful crowdfunding campaign. Learn how to better coach clients so they stand the best chance of garnering support through this increasingly popular funding mechanism.
Sandra Cochrane, Owner, Verdandi Consulting, Mattawan, Mich.
Bob Cohen, CEO, Braintree Business Development Center, Mansfield, Ohio

Intellectual Property Strategy and the Start-up

Understanding intellectual property, let alone having a sound IP strategy, can be overwhelming for start-ups. Learn why IP is so important for technology companies and find out what IP-related questions to ask at each stage of company development.
Thomas Marlow, Patent Attorney & Chair, Portfolio Management & Analytics Group, Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, Portland, Maine
Edward Sandor, Officer, Patent Attorney, Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, Minneapolis, Minn.

Small Incubator, Big Impact

Your program may not have a huge staff and dozens of companies, but it still can make a significant impact on the region. Learn how your small program can find its place in the community, leverage its board to reach otherwise unobtainable milestones, and identify and measure areas of impact.
Ted Baker, CEO & Executive Director, Muncie Innovation Connector, Muncie, Ind.
Michael Fritsch, Entrepreneur in Residence, Northeast Indiana Incubation Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Lessons Learned in University Incubation

There are many benefits to building and operating an incubation program in association with an academic institution. This session will provide tips for positioning your university-affiliated program for success, including how to identify unique funding opportunities and build relationships with potential partners within and outside of your institution.
Mitch Fillet, Professor of Business and Entrepreneurship, Fordham University and Co-Director, Fordham Foundry Bronx, N.Y.
David Fink, Entrepreneur in Residence, bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park, Baltimore, Md.
Christine Janssen-Selvadurai, Director, Entrepreneurship Program, and Co-director, Fordham Foundry, Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y.
Jennifer Reynolds, Director of Venture Creation, bwtech@UMBC Research and Technology Park, Baltimore, Md.

Building an Incubation Program That Lasts

Learn procedures to help ensure smooth staff transitions at all levels of your program. The presenters will explain strategies for success such as building a strong management team, documenting procedures, keeping an open dialogue with staff and managing community expectations.
Russ Yelton, President and CEO, Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Annette Zinky, Vice President, Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Flagstaff, Ariz.

Tuesday, May 20, 9 – 10:15 a.m.

Rethink Revenue Generation for Your Program

Incubators are under increasing pressure to implement innovative strategies that diversify revenues and strengthen financial sustainability. This session will provide examples of proven business models that will cause you to rethink your programming and service delivery and reengineer your incubator’s plan for financial health and success.
Karl LaPan, President & CEO, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Carol Lauffer, Partner, Business Cluster Development, Palo Alto, Calif.

Competitive Immigration

In an effort to lure the best entrepreneurs, several countries have launched start-up visa programs. The presenter will provide an update on these programs globally and discuss the impact for government administrators who are contemplating immigration reform.
Sunil Sharma, Managing Partner, Extreme Venture Partners and EIR, Hyperdrive Accelerator, Toronto, ON, Canada

The Future of Clean-tech Innovation

Discover best practices learned by two programs with unique approaches to incubating clean technology companies. Topics will include how to develop a client sourcing strategy and how to integrate involvement from the international, higher education, public and private sectors.
Jean-Christophe de Tauzia, Director, Incubateur Descartes, Descartes Campus,  Paris Region, France
Micah Kotch, Director of Incubator Initiatives, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Brooklyn, New York

Selecting the Right Clients for Your Incubator

Screening and selecting high-value clients is critical to a program’s success. The presenter will explain the key criteria your entrepreneur evaluation process should consider, detail the characteristics of successful selection panelists, and discuss how to engage businesses in rural and urban areas.
Michael O’Rourke, Managing Director, Real Estate Programming & Operations, TechTown Detroit, Detroit, Mich.
Natasha Ramkissoon, Chairman, National Entrepreneurship Development Company, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Roundtable: Developing New Incubators

If you are developing or considering developing a new business incubator, attend this roundtable discussion to exchange ideas with others who are in the development process. This industry veteran will also introduce you to NBIA resources and industry best practices.
Jim Robbins, Partner, Business Cluster Development, Menlo Park, Calif.

Advanced SessionServices for Second-Stage Companies

Want to learn how incubation programs can expand their service offerings to second-stage companies and past graduates? In this session you’ll learn what two successful programs are doing to make companies more competitive, to stay connected with graduates and to partner with community organizations for economic gardening.
Jim Bowie, Site Manager/Associate Director, University of Central Florida Business Incubator Program, Orlando, Fla.
Megan Reichert, Manager, Venture Accelerator, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Tuesday, May 20, 10:45 a.m. – Noon

Conducting an Effective Feasibility Study

Learn the ins and outs of each stage of the feasibility study process. The presenters will describe the components of assessing market opportunities, clarify parameters on which to assess feasibility, and cover how to determine feasibility or suggest alternatives better suited to meeting clients' objectives.
Mark Long, President, Long Performance Advisors, Elletsville, Ind.
Chuck Wolfe, President, Claggett Wolfe Associates, Auburn, Calif.

Tools for Working with Federal Agencies

Federal agencies offer many opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses but pose unique challenges in creating an open and communicative environment.  This session will highlight programs that have been successfully implemented to allow collaboration between government agencies and the private sector.
Charlie Beasley, President & CEO, Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, Stennis Space Center, Miss.

Incubating Social Change

Many entrepreneurs don't just want to run a business for profit, they want to make the world a better place. Hear about lessons learned from an incubation program specially designed to support social innovators and learn ways to respond to the needs of this niche audience.
Claire Carpenter, Managing Director, The Melting Pot, Edinburgh, Scotland

Roundtable: Education to Employment – Designing a Pipeline That Works

This session will show how incubators can close the gap between public schools and the world of business by creating seamless pipelines from education to employment. Presenters will draw from their own successful model to discuss ideas for sharing resources and expenses with local high schools to develop needed workforce talent.
Donna Deeds, Executive Director, Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Overland Park, Kan.
Scott Kreshel, Accelerator Manager, Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Overland Park, Kan.
Jon Newcomb, Manager, Business Development, Center for Advanced Professional Studies, Blue Valley School District, Overland Park, Kan.

Advanced SessionA Comprehensive Guide to Funding: Government Agencies, Foundations and Private Sector Campaigns

What are the fundamental elements of successful funding requests? How can you best articulate your case for investment? Find out at this session, where you’ll discover what government agencies and foundations look for when considering funding requests and grant applications.
Colleen Kelly, Director of Development, Youngstown Business Incubator, Youngstown, Ohio
Charles Stein, President, Strategic Development Services, Columbus, Ohio

Tuesday, May 20, 2:15 – 3:30 p.m.

Program Considerations for Women-Owned Businesses

This panel offers practical tips on creating, delivering and funding effective business incubation programming for women-owned businesses. You’ll learn the challenges and opportunities facing women-owned businesses and get tips on measuring the impact of programming for these companies.
Lynette Colin, Director, Women’s Business Resource & Entrepreneurship Center, New Orleans, La.
Lori Gillen, Managing Director, Maryland Women’s Business Center, Rockville, Md.
Lisa Smith, Executive Director, Bowie Business Innovation Center, Bowie State University Center for Business, Bowie, Md.

Commercializing Technology and Launching Start-ups

Learn about effective commercialization and start-up models in use at best-practices incubation programs. Panelists will discuss how to engage and assist inventors, validate technology and identify a market, and form an effective support network that leverages the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Laura Frerichs, Director, University of Illinois Research Park, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Champaign, Ill.
Carol Lauffer, Partner, Business Cluster Development, Palo Alto, Calif.
Tom O’Neal, Executive Director, University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program, Orlando, Fla.

Innovative Ways to Involve Your Incubator in the Start-Up Community

Explore ways in which the incubator can foster and encourage growth in the start-up community, ultimately driving business to your program. Topics covered will include tech meetups, hackathons, Startup Weekend, podcasts, coworking, self-promotional celebratory events, strengthened university relationships, and new ways to tailor business services within your program.
Wayne Barz, Manager of Entrepreneurial Services, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Pa.
Anthony Durante, Economic Development Specialist, Allentown Economic Development Corporation, Allentown, Pa.

How Are You Really Impacting Clients?

Learn how to collect information from companies about the impact they will attribute to your program. The presenters will also provide insights on how to use impact information for management, board reporting, funding applications and strategic planning.
Brian Barge, CEO, The Evidence Network, Waterloo, ON, Canada

Wednesday, May 21, 9 – 10:15 a.m.

Top-Notch Negotiation Skills to Benefit You and Your Clients

Effective negotiations can lead to better deals for you and your clients, and also can help minimize conflict. Presenters will share tips for improving this critical skill set, including how to identify cultural, linguistic, and stylistic differences that can block negotiations, and how to better leverage program and client strengths.
Michele Huff, Senior Associate University Counsel, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
Marie Longserre, President & CEO, Santa Fe Business Incubator, Santa Fe, N.M.

Four Phases of the Small Business Loan Underwriting Process

Hear an insider’s tips for understanding the phases of the loan approval process. Learn why it’s important to know how an application is processed, get insights about the documents needed for loan processing, and discover tricks for improving client access to small business loan capital.
Pat Beck, Business Incubator Manager, Economic Development Center, Lawton, Okla.
Gil Whavers, Business Incubation Center Manager, Bill J. Priest Institute for Economic Development, El Centro College, Dallas, Texas

Pioneering Partnerships with Your Local SBDC

Deploying a small business development center analyst as an on-site business counselor presents a tremendous opportunity to amplify the value of both your incubation program and your local SBDC. Learn how you can leverage minimal resources and launch one of these mutually beneficial partnerships.
David Norcross, Acting Director, Maricopa Small Business Development Center, Phoenix, Ariz.
Jeff Saville, Executive Director, Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, Phoenix, Ariz.

Wednesday, May 21, 10:45 a.m. – Noon

How to Engage Youth Entrepreneurs

Engaging youth entrepreneurs can benefit your community and your program, but it requires partnership development and community support. Learn how two initiatives involved young entrepreneurs, including how they garnered partner support, recruited volunteers, gained funding and sparked student interest.
Kalilou Dama, Coordinator, YES Malian Youth Program, Bamako, Mali
Loretta Daniel, Director, Kentucky Innovation Network at Murray State University, Murray, Ky.