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NBIA training adopts renewed focus on applied learning

June/July 2012

NBIA’s certificate program is evolving to keep pace with changes in the incubation industry. Originally developed in 2007 from speaker input and attendee evaluations at NBIA training events, NBIA’s Incubator Management Certificate Program has been revised and updated to reflect changing needs of incubator managers in a condensed four-workshop model.

The original program, arranged as three full-day workshops and five 75-minute conference sessions, explored core criteria for business incubation management. The revised model builds on the strengths of the existing program, but employs an applied framework to examine fundamental and advanced incubation topics using case studies that illustrate how concepts are implemented in operating incubation programs. According to Tom Strodtbeck, NBIA’s director of events and international programs, the new architecture will shift the certificate program’s focus to emphasize people and processes rather than policies and procedures.

In addition to reorganizing and updating the three existing workshops (Fundamentals of Incubator Management, Serving Client Companies and Facilities Management), NBIA developed the Entrepreneurship Workshop to replace the five required conference sessions.

In the U.S., where entrepreneurship is well-established, the new workshop will focus on finding, establishing and cultivating entrepreneurs – placing greater emphasis on managing the humans that run start-up companies. When offered internationally, the Entrepreneurship Workshop will focus on specific markets, policies and cultural conditions that affect business incubation markets locally.

Fundamentals of Incubator Management is tailored to new managers of existing programs. The revised workshop offers a renewed focus on assisting firms and building economies rather than seeking grants to support incubator operations and facilities. The change will be especially relevant to economic development organizations in the developing world that are breaking the cycle of grant dependence and are committed to building growth economies.

Serving Client Companies will continue to focus on incubator client needs and cost-effective measures to provide necessary services. “In many ways, incubators are like coaches for their client companies,” Strodtbeck says. “The SCC workshop will help incubator managers learn techniques to empower their clients and maximize their potential.”

Facilities Management will help managers leverage incubation facilities to better support entrepreneurs and contribute to program sustainability.

Two of the four workshops will be offered at each of NBIA’s flagship events, the International Conference on Business Incubation and the NBIA Training Institute. Regional workshops will be offered on an on-demand basis, allowing NBIA to customize training that is strongly relevant to individual markets and the needs of each community.

“The certificate training frames incubators as a competitive engine for economic growth rather than a form of risk mitigation,” says Strodtbeck. “The vision of the program is to help incubators deliver on a promise to entrepreneurs that through incubation, their companies can be more competitive, more profitable, attract top employees and prosper.”

Individuals currently working to complete the certificate program will have the opportunity to be grandfathered in to the new program. Details on this process will be available late summer.—Bridget Lair

Keywords: seminars and training programs, professional development – general, incubator management – general, leadership development, NBIA programs

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