National Business Incubation Association: Everything You Need to Know

09/16/19 | 5 MIN READ

If your startup is looking for ways to grow and scale beyond current operations, many experienced entrepreneurs would suggest utilizing the resources of a business incubator to help you reach your goals. For instance, UniversityLab Partners  is a wet-lab incubator offering shared work space for entrepreneurs and startups within the bioscience and medtech industries. Business incubators like this are set up by various industry organizations to assist early-stage businesses and startups looking to grow their company.

These business incubators are handled and overseen by members of the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA), which has transformed in recent years to account for international incubation programs as well. Understanding how business incubators work and the role of the NBIA is an important first step to leveraging support and opportunities for your new business.

What is a Business Incubator? Entrepreneurs who sign up for business incubators are provided with a shared work space that emphasizes collaboration. The many benefits of working within a business incubator, such as University Lab Partners, include networking opportunities, mentoring possibilities, funding support via angel investors, and being able to use shared equipment that would otherwise cost far too much for a young and fledgling business to afford.

These incubator spaces provide young companies with the ability to grow and thrive in a space that costs very little money to use. Likely the best aspect of a business incubator is that you can grow at your own pace and won't be pressured to accelerate quicker than you're able. Starting a new business is difficult, having the space, time, and resources to grow are invaluable.


What is the National Business Incubation Association?

The NBIA is a nonprofit organization of incubator developers and managers as well as additional professionals like venture capital investors and joint venture partners. Their primary goal is to promote the development of new businesses by educating the investor and business community about the myriad benefits of business incubators.

The mission of the National Business Incubation Association is to develop, mentor, and guide sustainable entrepreneur support programs in all industries around the globe. To do so, they provide industry resources, global programming, education, and events for entrepreneurs and startups to help make the connections and acquire the resources they need to achieve their goals . If you're thinking about entering a business incubator, like University Lab Partners, with your startup, you should know about the National Business Incubation Association.

The History of National Business Incubation Association

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The National Business Incubation Association has a lengthy history beginning in 1985 as a nonprofit organization. Though the name of this association has since changed to the International Business Incubation Association, their sole purpose remains the same. Their primary goal is to promote the continued growth of new business while also educating investor and business communities about the significant benefits associated with business incubators.

In order to reach this goal, the National Business Incubation Association provides its members with some fantastic benefits. For instance, members are provided with valuable training and information on how to form and properly manage an incubator. They also publish a newsletter and provide members with a useful referral service.

The resources they provide are designed, first and foremost, to help communities all over the country (and world) to enable entrepreneurs to transform their ideas and concepts into innovative and successful businesses. This nonprofit organization is composed of many different entities, which include economic development professionals, venture capital investors, business incubator managers and developers, and corporate joint venture partners. All of these entities work together to facilitate growth for startups and entrepreneurs in all different kinds of industries.

Currently, their association consists of more than 1,200 members throughout 30 nations. Along with standard business incubators, their members include entrepreneurship centers, coworking spaces, accelerators, economic development organizations, and small business development centers. They partner with organizations of all sizes, which is why you shouldn't hesitate to become a member of the NBIA if you're looking to help spur economic growth in your community and help innovators, inventors, and entrepreneurs create the businesses they envision.

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How to Apply for NBIA Membership?

If you want to create your own business incubator, you should consider applying for a membership with the National Business Incubation Association. When you become a member, you'll be provided with benefits, resources, and training  to assist you in operating a business incubator. The members of this association are meant to spearhead economic growth throughout their communities by helping startups obtain success.

When you want to apply for a membership at the NBIA, you'll need to select the membership option you believe is best for your situation. 

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There are three membership tiers available to you, which include the silver membership, gold membership, and platinum membership. The silver membership is priced at $525 per year and allows for three individuals per organization to obtain membership benefits. The gold membership costs $695 per year and provides benefits to six individuals of an organization. As for the platinum membership, it's priced at $1,200 per year and provides membership benefits to 12 separate individuals per organization.

If you have a question about your membership or need to ask for some help when applying to the National Business Incubation Association, they can be reached at (407) 965-5653. You can also contact them online and they’re generally  fairly responsive, within 24 hours during the business week. 

National Business Incubation Association Membership Benefits

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NBIA’s benefits are expansive and offer substantial assistance to you in launching and operating a business incubator. The primary benefits include global collaboration, a partner perks program, and various discounts and recognition.

NBIA membership provides access to global collaboration through an online platform known as "The Exchange". On this platform, members can create communities, collaborate, and share ideas and resources. The Exchange is regularly updated with new resources including sample documents, whitepapers, templates, course content, economic impact reports, and webinars that focus on an array of topics.

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Special Membership Discounts

As for the discounts and recognition, all members receive discounts on the products, programs, and services available from the National Business Incubation Association, which allows you and your organization to save thousands of dollars. Members are also provided with recognition on a regular basis. Along with being featured in the monthly newsletter, members are regularly  recognized through blog posts, podcasts, case studies, videos, and an awards banquet which can boost your profile and help build your network

NBIA Review Subscription

When you become a member of the National Business Incubation Association, you'll also be provided with a subscription to the NBIA Review, a monthly publication offering insight into the incubation efforts throughout numerous industries. Some of the additional benefits when you're an NBIA member include access to numerous networking opportunities on local, state, national, and international levels, discounted pricing for global events pertaining to the NBIA, and discounted entry into some fantastic training courses, the latter of which includes the entrepreneurship center program and NewCo Academy courses. The subjects of NewCo Academy courses include equity investment for your business, non-dilutive funding opportunities, and financial modeling that can help attract investors.

National Business Incubation Association Sponsors

When looking at the many sponsors that support business incubators, they range from non-profit organizations to governments. The main goals of these types of incubators include tax-base expansion, economic diversification, and job creation. Many other business incubators are sponsored by universities, which helps to provide alumni, students, and faculty with business opportunities and important resources. For-profit incubators are also available; they are sponsored by many different types of investment groups. The goal of these incubators is to provide returns on any of the funds invested by the group.

However, the downside of for-profit incubators is that they are typically only able to provide a limited amount of guidance, financing, and leadership. Sadly, most of these incubators  fail within two years for a variety of reasons. Before you become a member of the National Business Incubation Association, it's important to do your research and determine which business incubators are the best fit. Keep in mind that a small number of incubators will be sponsored by non-traditional organizations, which include chambers of commerce, churches, and even Native tribes. Similarly, business incubators can be industry specific including wet lab incubators which, as mentioned, support the bioresearch and medtech space.

Starting a Business Incubator

If you're interested in creating programs to support entrepreneurship and innovation, you may want to look into the National Business Incubation Association to gain its numerous membership benefits! These benefits will give you the tools and knowledge necessary to create a business incubator that makes a difference not just for an entrepreneur, innovator, or inventor, but for the business community, and regional community as well.

Those goals were among the reasons University Lab Partners was established. Not only was it a goal to help launch the businesses, products, and technology that could revolutionize the medtech space, but we’re also hoping and helping to create an education, research, and development pipeline that feeds the industry regionally. The goals of business incubators can and should be expansive.

If you’re interested in growing your medtech or bioscience startup, contact University Lab Partners today, the first  wet lab incubator in Orange County. We’re ready to help you realize your vision and provide the resources you need to do so.

Revised 12/21/2023


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