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

Click here to go to the proposal form.

Click here for a list of suggested topics.

Click here for tips on submitting a successful proposal.

Click here for more information about the conference. 

Submitting a Proposal: NBIA Conference Sessions

Deadline: Friday, Sept. 27 Extended to Friday, Oct. 4

NBIA’s 75-minute conference sessions will take place Monday, May 19, through Wednesday, May 21. Before submitting a proposal, please make sure you are available to present on any of the three days.  

Before you fill out the online proposal form, please read the following information about the Audience Profile, Topics of Interest, Selection Criteria, Session Format Options, Speaker Information and Proposal Process. Once you have reviewed this important information, you can submit your proposal by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page. If you have any questions, e-mail or call (740) 593-4331.

If you are interested in presenting at the conference but you aren’t sure what topic to propose, click here.

Audience Profile

NBIA conference attendees represent a broad spectrum of people engaged in entrepreneur support and new business growth, from incubator developers and managers to university officials and economic development professionals. Our attendees come from many types of communities and programs, and their perspectives and challenges vary greatly. The audience also reflects a range of experience levels, from longtime NBIA members to people who are just starting to investigate business incubation. The conference attracts a significant number of international attendees, so we seek sessions with content that can be applied globally. Despite their differences, all attendees are looking for practical tools and techniques they can apply to their programs immediately. We strongly encourage presenters to ensure the information they share is broadly applicable and not unique to their specific programs. 

Topics of Interest

The topic areas we want to consider for the conference are listed here. Please note: This list is not exclusive, as the conference will include sessions on a broad range of topics.

Selection Criteria

NBIA seeks to fulfill the educational needs of our diverse audience by creating a balanced program that is comprehensive and reflects a multitude of perspectives. A session selection committee will review the proposals and make decisions based on the following criteria:

  • Relevance to audience needs. We look for sessions that address topics of interest to a large group of conference attendees. We also consider the diversity of the programs with which our attendees work and strive to offer a variety of sessions to meet those different needs.
  • Quality of the proposal content. Because most of our audience members are industry practitioners (rather than academics), we select sessions that will provide tools and techniques people can implement in their own programs. Successful proposals will provide industry-specific examples and include – but not be limited to – case studies of programs with proven track records.
  • Contribution to the overall conference content. As the selection committee discusses proposals, we will consider how the topic, format and specific content of a proposed session will fit into the overall scheme of the event. The selection committee will consider each proposal in the context of the overall conference, assessing how the topic, format and specific content fit with other sessions.
  • Presenter qualifications. We seek presenters who communicate effectively through lively, organized and well-prepared presentations and helpful handouts. In reviewing a proposal, we consider the presenter’s previous training/speaking experience and familiarity with the business incubation industry. In many cases, we also will contact references.

Session Format Options

You will have the opportunity to select one of three session format options on the proposal form. Please read over the descriptions of the format options and be sure to select the one that best suits your presentation. We need to clearly understand the format of your session as we will set up your room accordingly.

  • Lecture — A 75-minute session featuring one to three speakers who present material as a public address. We ask presenters to reserve 15 to 20 minutes at the end of the session for audience questions. This format is best for sessions in which specific case studies, techniques or programs are presented as examples. The goal is to provide attendees with information and tools they can implement to improve their programs.
  • Panel — A 75-minute session featuring no more than three panelists who respond to a series of topical questions posed by a moderator. The audience should be given at least 20 minutes to ask questions of the panel. This format is a good way for people who have expertise in a specific area to share their perspectives.
  • Roundtable Discussion — A 75-minute session in which a facilitator presents a brief 10 to 15 minute introduction to the topic and then leads an informal, interactive discussion with attendees. This format works best for sessions addressing common issues and situations that are conducive to active dialogue. Roundtable discussions do not include PowerPoint presentations.

Speaker Information

  • We welcome proposals from experienced presenters, international speakers and new voices who haven’t spoken at our events previously.
  • As a nonprofit association, NBIA is unable to offer remuneration for session presentations, so all session presenters must register for the conference if they plan to participate in activities other than their presentations. They also must cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. Speakers who are able to participate in conference activities only on the day of their presentation may register for a one-day speaker rate of $200.  
  • Do not use the conference presentation as a vehicle to advertise products or services. Conference sessions are meant to provide information for industry professionals, not to make sales pitches. Attendees will be dissatisfied if they sense a presenter is providing promotional material for his or her own benefit.
  • If your proposal is accepted, NBIA will ask you to provide an electronic copy of your PowerPoint presentation and other handouts in advance of the conference so we can provide them to attendees through a password-protected section on our Web site. By making the presentations available in advance, we give attendees the opportunity to come prepared with printed handouts. If handouts aren’t available in advance, attendees usually will express their displeasure during the session or on the evaluations.  

Proposal Process

  • The deadline for submitting conference session proposals is Friday, Sept. 27. NBIA will not consider proposals submitted after this date. The selection committee will hold several meetings to discuss proposals in the late fall. You will be notified of the committee’s decision by the end of November.
  • Selected speakers will receive further instructions and material deadlines in January 2014. Presentations will take place during NBIA’s 28th International Conference on Business Incubation, May 18-21, 2014, in New Orleans.   

Click here to submit a proposal.

Contact NBIA

Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
PO Box 959
Athens, OH 45701-1565

If you would like additional information about hosting or participating in an NBIA event, send an e-mail to