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Whether the audience is grantors, local government or community members, keeping stakeholders engaged and informed greatly benefits an incubation program. Well-informed stakeholders are often more invested in incubator operations, which means they are better able to advocate for a program's effectiveness and more committed to its success.

Engaging stakeholders through reports and activities yields real benefits

by Dennis E. Powell

February 2012

What do you do, how do you do it, and how much does it cost? What's the return on that investment? Those are short, simple questions that practically always have long, complicated answers. They are also questions that incubator managers need to answer regularly and ought to be prepared to answer always.

Your stakeholders want to know about your program. Some have formal reporting requirements. Some merely seek to stay informed. Some incubation programs that are part of larger organizations or institutions have just one stakeholder to satisfy, while others with diverse revenue streams from multiple organizations may need to file a broad array of forms and reports annually or quarterly.

Stakeholder reporting is often much more than letting financial benefactors know how you spent their money. It is an important tool in demonstrating how efficient and cost-effective business incubation is, compared with other means of economic development and job creation.

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Keywords: advocacy, effective communication, sponsor, stakeholder development, stakeholder relationship management

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