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Summary

Business incubator sponsors aren't just organizations that provide ongoing support for program operations – many local businesses can provide funding or products that enhance programs and services for clients. This article contains tips for developing and maintaining good relationships with these sponsors.

Paying up: How to develop and maintain successful sponsor relationships

by Meghan Holohan

April 2008

When the Indiana University Emerging Technologies Center opened its doors four years ago, business leaders, government officials, university administrators and community members flocked to see the new incubator along the Indianapolis Canal Walk.

“It was like Disney World here,” says Mark Long, former IUETC president and CEO, referencing the number of facility tours he led.

But when several attorneys from area law firms visited IUETC, something other than the Indianapolis skyline caught their attention: One conference room within the facility bore the name of one of their competitors.

Where’s our conference room, they asked Long. He replied that they, too, could have a conference room with their firms’ names on it – for a fee. This was just one way that Long attracted business sponsors for IUETC. Now, four of the facility’s eight conference rooms display the name of a law firm, and the incubator has extra money in the coffers to pay for additional programming and services to help his clients.

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Keywords: effective communication, funding sources/fundraising, marketing and promotion, partnerships -- organizational/corporate, sponsor, stakeholder development, stakeholder relationship management

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