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

Creative compensation

by Linda Knopp

April 2006

In business incubation, as in anything else, you get what you pay for. That’s why NBIA considers recruiting and adequately compensating highly qualified managers among the industry’s best practices.

According to NBIA’s 2005 Compensation Survey of Incubator Executives, many incubator sponsors are recognizing this need. The survey found that salary levels among U.S. incubator executives increased 13 percent between 2000 and 2005 to a median of $72,000, keeping pace with inflation.

Still, many incubator executives said their compensation was not on par with other professionals in their communities, despite the multitude of responsibilities and varying skill sets required by the job. In fact, NBIA’s 2005 compensation survey revealed that nearly one-half of full-time incubator managers and more than one-quarter of part-time incubator executives believed their salaries were below market rate for professionals with similar experience and responsibilities.

Although most incubators continue to pay straight salaries, a number of programs are beginning to think outside the box when it comes to creating compensation packages that will attract the type of executive required to run a successful business incubation program. Read on to learn how some of these programs have structured their compensation plans.

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Keywords: compensation -- incubator staff, evaluation -- incubator performance, idea generation and creativity, regulatory compliance -- incubator, research -- incubation

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