Best Practices -

Incubator Management

Thanks to the New Hampshire Business Incubator Network, we have these essential best practices to help your innovation hub be strong and successful.

Our innovation hub members also learn about hundreds of other best practices and next practices for everything from attracting high-potential tenant startups and helping them grow to raising funds and preparing to leverage the coming important developments in automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence and dozens of other disruptive and world-changing emerging trends.

• Obtain consensus on a mission that defines the incubator’s role in the community.

• Develop a strategic plan containing quantifiable objectives to achieve the program mission.

• Structure your program for financial sustainability by developing and implementing a realistic business plan.

• Design your physical space to be flexible and cost-effective in meeting the needs of a range of developing startups.

• Recruit and appropriately compensate onsite management who is capable of achieving the mission of the incubator and has the expertise to help startups grow and create value.

• Build an effective board of directors committed to the incubator’s mission and to maximizing management’s role in developing successful startups.

• Prioritize management’s time so that the greatest emphasis is on assisting the tenant startups, including proactive value-added advising, team building, introductions to resources, networking and guidance.

• Develop a facility, resources, networks, advisors, methods, programs and tools that contribute to the effective delivery of business assistance to the tenant startups and that address the developmental needs of each one.

• Work to integrate the incubator program and activities into the fabric of the community and its broader economic development goals and strategies.

• Develop stakeholder support and involvement, including advisory, resource and financing networks.

• Maintain a management information system that compiles statistics and other information necessary for ongoing program evaluation. Use the information to improve program effectiveness and to evolve with the needs of the tenant startups.

• Employ diligent admissions criteria and evaluation to ensure that only promising, well-thought-out startups are admitted to the incubator. Require candidates to submit a complete business plan and evidence of ability to pay rent. Carefully examine candidates’ vision, value proposition, strategies, markets, competitive landscape, management, planning processes, technology, intellectual property, ownership, record-keeping systems, budgets, financing and staffing.

• Keep ongoing statistics about the program’s startup application volume; acceptance rate; average time in the incubator; startup graduations, buyouts and exits; occupancy rate; required investments; and startup financing, product development, customer acquisition and job creation progress.


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Carol Abrahamson

Founder & Executive Director

Carol at CarolAbrahamson dot-com


2500 North Annie Glidden Rd, Suite F

DeKalb, IL 60115​​