Our Story

When we saw the 200+ innovation hubs (i.e., business incubators, accelerators, co-working and maker spaces) in Illinois didn't know each other, didn’t talk to each other and didn’t have an organization to facilitate their sharing best practices/next practices, funding opportunities, information, contacts and resources the way hubs in 20 other states do, we decided to create such a professional association and are launching it now.

Most of the similar associations in those other 20 states were founded in the 1980s and 1990s, so they had numerous lessons to share with us as well as mistakes to avoid. As the largest state group of hubs outside of California, in a state that spans a large geography, we have focused on digital services such as difficult-to-find high-value information, articles, teleconferences, podcasts, webinars, videos and contacts and are building a library to make them permanently available on-demand to our hub members and their thousands of startups. We also serve other members of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems as well as sponsors. Our revenues come from member dues and Commercial Partner Sponsor fees.

How We Can Contribute to Your Hub's Success . . . Let us count the ways (many of these come from other members we connect you to, while many come from the association's staff and expertise):
1. Learn about the other IL hubs and their programs
2. Network with them
3, Be a part of a large and diverse community that shares your interests, issues and needs
4. Add your voice and participation to effect positive change
5. Exchange ideas, solutions and info with other members
6. Learn from or support other members regarding specific topics
7. Hear success stories and mistakes to avoid
8, Use our ask-a-member-or-expert service to find a source of advice or help
9. Learn how others handled a challenge you now face
10. Learn the industry’s best practices/next practices
11. Work solo or with other members to create new best practices/next practices
12. Track industry news and opportunities
13. Assess the competitive landscape to help you differentiate your hub
14. Learn resources to tap into
15. Make new contacts and connections
16. Align with other similar state associations to address multi-state, regional or national issues
17. Find partners and collaborators in-state and at other similar state assns
18. Plug into a statewide and multi-state network of mentors for you and your startups
19. Connect your startups with industry peers and potential partners at other members or at other similar state assns
20. Find market research targets, marketing channels, new markets, clients/customers and supply chain resources for your startups at other members or at other similar state assns
21. Propose regional and national issues or projects for members to comment about and/or solve that will strengthen hubs or startups
22. Participate in creating programs to address issues such as motivating startups to remain in state, attracting out-of-state investors, etc.
23. Join the voice of members to influence legislation and public sector programs
24. Add your voice and opinions about proposals from statewide, regional and national policy makers
25. Participate in research studies regarding hubs, startups, job creation and innovation

26. Attend trainings and info sessions conducted by us or others
27. Access training about skills essential to hub and/or startup success
28. Learn national events and trainings that will help you do your job and inspire you
29. Access the body of knowledge of the emerging new role being professionalized by Kauffman Foundation efforts: ecosystem builders
30. Learn – and learn from – national sources for free and low-cost entrepreneurial education, support and training
31. Learn the success strategies that will rule the world in 2020 and after which you and your startups should consider adding to your strategies
32. Identify funding opportunities for your hub and startups (grants, competitions/awards, multiple types of investors, etc.)
33. Access world-class consulting and coaching about raising capital for your hub and startups
34. Tap into reports from numerous global thought leaders about the Future of Work: how automation, robotics, machine learning, AI, etc. are already starting to disrupt and offer opportunities for you and your startups
35. Connect with other professional organizations related to fostering startups
36. Co-ordinate scheduling or collaborate on projects and events with other members
37. Read about entrepreneurial events to attend in Illinois
38. Publicize openings on your staff
39. Advertise your available space
40. Learn where space exists that meets the secondary location needs of your startups
41. Connect with specialized facilities that can be rented by startups
42. Learn who, how and when to contact IL universities to attract interns and new graduates for you or your startups
43. Win one of our recognition or cash awards
44. Participate in statewide opportunities, collaborations and partnerships
45. Connect with our affiliate members and their programs
46. Take advantage of our sponsors’ discount offers
47. Learn from our sponsors (they are eager to help you)
48. Lead or participate in one of our committees

49. Influence the future of the association by joining our advisory board
50. Be recognized for your skills and successes
51. Learn about new job opportunities

52. Two hub members can be members of our national professional association, InBIA, for a year on our nickel

See our Benefits page to learn about our member categories and to request an invoice you can pay via PayPal or by check in order to join us.

Come Grow With Us!

Copyright © 2018 by Illinois Business Innovation Association. All rights reserved.

We make every effort to create accurate, up-to-date, leading-edge information but have no liability for anything that doesn't meet that standard.

Carol Abrahamson

Founder & Executive Director

Carol at CarolAbrahamson dot-com


2500 North Annie Glidden Rd, Suite F

DeKalb, IL 60115​​