by Dinah Adkins
Of all North American state or provincial business incubation associations, Wisconsin recently initiated the most sophisticated professional development effort for its member incubators – one that could serve as a model for other regions.
The Wisconsin Business Incubation Association, with 70 members, has over the past three years written and obtained more than $420,000 in state and federal grants to raise funds to develop and implement a technical assistance and training program for a six-county regional incubator network and to develop a statewide videoconference network.
While the six-county network includes two counties in Illinois (a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant was awarded to ameliorate problems related to flooding and auto industry contraction in 2008-09 that affected both states), WBIA will use the videoconference systems to extend technical assistance and training throughout Wisconsin. The grantor “doesn’t mind if we extend services throughout the state as long as we’re meeting the needs of our target population and bringing value back to the region,” explains Therese Fellner, business development director for Gateway Technical College and WBIA president at the time the grants were written and awarded.
Keywords: incubation associations, leadership development, professional development – general, seminars and training programs, technology/productivity resources
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