by Dinah Adkins
Nobody earns a college degree in incubator management. Although some incubator managers have experience as incubator staff members, the majority come to incubator management from other fields. Some are former entrepreneurs themselves; others have worked in economic development or technology transfer, or have corporate or financial experience. And a few come to incubation from completely unrelated fields. As a result, incubator managers and their staff get their training on the job.
The incubation industry has changed significantly since 1959, when the first program was created in Batavia, N.Y., and even since 1980, when only 12 to 15 programs operated in the United States.
For one thing, the role of incubator manager has become more sophisticated and demanding. Entrepreneurial firms expect more from incubation program staff than in the past, and the manager must have the respect of the local business community and other stakeholders for the program to thrive.
Keywords: history of business incubation, networking, professional development -- general
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