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NBIA's Pinnacle Incubation Industry Event

January/February 2014

by Kim Barlag

NBIAIf you missed this year’s NBIA Summit for Advanced Incubation Professionals, you may have missed the best one yet. According to Charles Ross, assistant director of Enterprise Innovation Institute in Atlanta, “I’ve been to the last five summits, and this year’s event set a really high bar. I especially liked the Great Start-ups, Great Entrepreneurs session, as I picked up some good information on how we can become effective coaches for our clients and assist them in moving from visions to ventures.”

NBIA’s Eighth Summit for Advanced Incubation Professionals, a members-only event for experienced incubation leaders, took place Feb. 9-11 in Orlando, Fla. About 40 NBIA members from 25 states, Canada and France attended. The retreat-style compact event was packed full of discussions, debate and idea exchanges about innovation, entrepreneurship, business incubation and the entrepreneur support ecosystem at large.

Following a Sunday evening reception that gave attendees the opportunity to meet the people they’d be working with over the next two days, the event opened Monday morning with a welcome and introductions.

Great Start-ups, Great Entrepreneurs

The first session, Great Start-ups, Great Entrepreneurs: Working with the People that Make an Entrepreneur a Success, was moderated by David Terry, executive director of the West Texas A&M University Enterprise Network in Amarillo, Texas. The session was divided into three topics, and Jerry Ross, executive director of the National Enterprise Center in Orlando, Fla. began with a discussion on the entrepreneurial spirit. Ross, a self-proclaimed lifelong entrepreneur, said, “If you have met one entrepreneur… you’ve meet one entrepreneur because they are all different. As coaches we need to recognize that.”

Ross joked that he would have coached Google to change its name, and points out that it’s an incubator manager’s responsibility to recognize the visions client entrepreneurs have. “What drives success in the beginning drives others crazy in the end,” said Ross. “How they got to be successful is stubborn persistence, and we need to help them grow. We need to help them make the transition, moving from what they do to how they think. It’s the difference between needing a coach and needing a psychiatrist.”

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Keywords: access to capital, client services, best practices

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