National Business Incubation Association; Your source for knowledge and networks in business incubation


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Be a strong business incubation advocate

February/March 2013

Throughout its history, NBIA has worked to raise awareness about the important role business incubation programs play in helping start-up and emerging companies become more successful.  As part of this process, the organization spreads the word about the industry’s accomplishments to policymakers, the media, related organizations and others on a national level.

But you, our members, also play an important role in NBIA’s advocacy efforts. We need your help to ensure that local and regional stakeholders understand how incubation programs help create jobs, stimulate economies, commercialize technologies and generally contribute to a region’s economic prosperity.

Although many people consider advocacy to be synonymous with lobbying, true advocacy is broader in scope, encompassing efforts to encourage interested individuals and groups to support a cause or proposal – whether through the legislative process or otherwise. These efforts usually include a strong educational component, so NBIA has developed several tools to help support your efforts.

In the coming months, we’ll be assembling these tools and others into an advocacy toolkit to give incubation professionals easy access to the resources they need to increase awareness of business incubation generally (and of their programs specifically). But in the meantime, some of this information is already at your disposal. If you have suggestions of other materials that would help you become a better advocate for business incubation (or industry success stories to add to our collection), please e-mail

With many government agencies cutting back on local investments – and corporate and foundation funds hard to come by – it’s vitally important that your stakeholders understand the value of business incubation, the innovations you commercialize and the jobs you create. Making sure entrepreneurs (and potential entrepreneurs) know how your incubation program can help their companies succeed also can help you ensure a strong client pipeline for years to come.—Linda Knopp

Advocacy tools at your fingertips

  • Business Incubation FAQ: Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about business incubation and NBIA, plus a downloadable PowerPoint presentation based on the FAQ. Some of this information has already been updated with new numbers from NBIA’s 2012 State of the Business Incubation Industry report, and more updates are in the works. (
  • Recession Resources: Tools and articles to help your incubation program survive and thrive in challenging times. (
  • Incubation Impact Toolkit: Information on how (and why) to measure your business incubator’s economic impact. (
  • Principles and Best Practices of Successful Business Incubation: Learn more about the secrets to business incubation success. (
  • Incubating Success: Incubation Best Practices That Lead to Successful New Ventures: A 2011 study funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration found that business incubation programs that adhere to industry best practices outperform those that do not —no matter where they’re located or what type of environment they operate in. (
  • Benchmark Your Business Incubator’s Practices: This simple benchmarking survey helps you compare your incubation program’s management with those of your peers and with NBIA-accepted best practices. (
  • Incubation Success Stories: NBIA member incubators around the world have helped launch countless companies that have had lasting impacts on their communities, their industries and their customers. Learn more about the clients and graduates who have made a name for themselves – with the help of a business incubator. (
  • Information for Entrepreneurs: Why should an entrepreneur consider staring their business in an incubation program? What questions should they ask to determine whether incubation is right for them? (

Keywords: advocacy, funding sources/fundraising, economic development

Contact NBIA

Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
PO Box 959
Athens, OH 45701-1565