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Graduation certificates and ceremonies allow you to recognize your successful clients and market your program. Here's how five incubators celebrate the day that their clients enter the real world.

Graduation day: Making exiting clients feel special

by Corinne Colbert

December 2006

You work hard to get clients in the door. You invest hours of time nurturing their growth. You watch with pride as they hit developmental milestones. After all that, are you just going to let them leave with a handshake and a slap on the back?

Acknowledging this rite of business passage is important for you and your clients, says Scott Draschnik, vice president of development and marketing for the Economic Development Center of St. Charles County in St. Charles, Mo., which operates two incubators.

“It becomes something like a family here,” Draschnik says. “You wouldn’t send your kid brother off to college and say, ‘See ya.’”

And for clients, a graduation ceremony can make their exit from the incubator a day to remember. “We thought of it more as a milestone celebration than a graduation,” says Julian Ross, chairman and CEO of OxySure Systems, which graduated from the North Texas Enterprise Center for Medical Technology in Frisco, Texas, in 2005. “The ceremony was a good way for us to recognize our shareholders as well as our employees, especially the ones who were there early and stayed through the hard times.”

Read on to learn how five incubators celebrate the day when their clients venture out into the real world.

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Keywords: exit policy, graduation policy, graduation ceremony, incubator management -- general, marketing and promotion, networking

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