National Business Incubation Association; Your source for knowledge and networks in business incubation

Investing in success: An incubator turns its business assistance program into a precise set of steps and readies firms for graduation within a year

by Sarah Dahlberg

June 1999

Incubation is an art – that much every incubator manager knows. But can it be a science? The Colorado Venture Centers (CVC) believe they have made it one, or at least gotten pretty close.

Starting with a goal common to incubation programs everywhere – helping start-up firms succeed – CVC has developed a system to guide its companies through the early growth stage. The Investment Track program, winner of the 1999 NBIA Innovation Award at NBIA's 13th International Conference on Business Incubation in March, provides all CVC clients with an easy-to-understand process for turning good ideas into successful business opportunities. Essential to the program is CVC's Venture Guild, a group of nearly 140 experienced entrepreneurs, investors and management professionals committed to building strong businesses.

"From my experience, the basis of a company's success is experiential input from people who have been around the block and done it before," says CVC's CEO Jonas Kiken. "The heart of the program is people."

Since Investment Track's creation two years ago, five companies have graduated – each of them earning at least $400,000 in capital financing. What makes this rapid graduation and financing possible? According to Kiken, it's a systematic procedure with hands-on advisors.

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Keywords: benchmarking clients, best practices, client selection/admissions, coaching clients

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