The Importance of Community For Innovation
The word community is defined as a group with a shared attitude and interest, and no group ever embodied the word as perfectly as the incubation community. UBI Global offers an exploration of the common interests –growth, job creation, and success – of business incubators and accelerators, the programs that nurture them, and the corporate community that supports them through a network of resources.
Bringing together a community of like-minded innovators and the programs that support them is not enough. Fostering a culture of communication, support and mentorship is essential to the growth of the community. There is a cautionary tale that is passed around the startup community about an entrepreneur who had a fantastic idea, built a website that users loved, and sat back and waited for success. Sadly, without engaging with peers and mentors, success did not ever happen for the fictional startup. Fortunately, the real innovation community is wiser than that and understands the value of connectedness.
Nurturing Startups for the Greater Good
Corporations who support the innovation community are doing much more than folding new, disruptive technologies into their own brand. These corporations recognize that investing in business incubation and acceleration creates jobs.
In fact, a Kauffman Foundation report from 2015 already pointed out that nearly all the net new job creation and almost 20 percent of gross job creation was down to new businesses. When new businesses join the community and create jobs, the ecosystem around them grows as well, inspiring more talent and more entrepreneurship.
An exciting example of community spirit in the innovation community can be found in the well-funded US initiative run by Steve Case, the co-founder of AOL. Along with his Washington, DC-based venture capital firm and “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance, they are forming a road tour to seek out potential startups outside Silicon Valley, Manhattan, and Cambridge. By seeking growth opportunities in the “rust belt” cities of Detroit, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Case and his fellow venture capitalists are making investments that help US communities that are struggling by investing in their growth. JD Vance stated the following, proving that corporations, startups and incubators and accelerators truly have a community spirit:
“The way I put it is, if you don’t want to be an outsider to an ecosystem, don’t be an outsider,” Vance said. “I think if you’re just going in, writing a check, and not doing anything else, then you’re not going to get to know the people that you need to get to know to make that ecosystem successful.”
Why Optimize Business Incubators and Accelerators
Much like the startups they nurture to success, incubators and accelerators need the same community spirit and mentoring. However, they often find themselves working independently. Focusing on their own community gives programs little time to interact with other program experts and to form valuable relationships. The Best Practices Report volume two, recently published by UBI Global, highlights the best practices of the top 12 programs with globally recognized high-performance value for the communities they serve, the startups they foster and the program success and future growth.
Distilled from the best-of-the-best in The World Benchmark Study, the Best Practices Report offers programs of all sizes a road map to follow on the path of their own success, as demonstrated by the top-ranked programs worldwide. The programs featured in the report excel in both their impact in the communities they serve and their performance compared to their global peers. Participation in the World Benchmark Study is open to UBI Global Members and offers a unique insight into other programs and the communities that have grown up around them. The information gleaned from participating in The World Benchmark Study gives programs a clear picture of how their approach, skills, and events compare to the efforts of their peers around the world.
Program in Focus – SETsquared, Bath, United Kingdom
The best example of a high community value program is SETsquared, managed by the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, and Surrey. Earning a five out of five- star rating in the Value for Ecosystem category of the World Benchmark Study propelled SETsquared to a place of honor in the Best Practices report volume two as a program benchmarked among the best in the world.
SETsquared focuses on nurturing quality tech startups through their own program of mentorship and development. By matching the startup with the market they focus on, a program they have titled ICare, SETsquared provides their startups with the support of a wide business community that nurtures them to successful graduation. SETsquared has developed a solid reputation for economic growth, which has attracted more market leadership involvement as well as more entrepreneurship throughout the region.
By becoming a partner in EuroIncNet, a European UBI Global Member network formed of the top programs in the region, SETsquared has joined an innovation community they can lean on for support and guidance as Brexit moves forward. This network of programs will become vital not only to SETsquared but also to their startup members during this time of uncertainty and into the future.
Membership in the UBI Global Interactive Learning Community
UBI Global shares a passion for the world innovation industry, connecting more than 700 members in over 70 countries by benchmarking them in the World Benchmark Study and publishing the results in the World Benchmark Report, Best Practices Reports, and Startup Success Stories Reports. These original insights into business incubators and accelerators are put to use daily by hundreds of programs to inspire and increase their own value to their innovation ecosystem, to their client startups and to their own program and their university partners.
Membership in UBI Global includes education and best practices information updated on a regular basis so that it remains evergreen and full of the latest tips. As a UBI Global Member, you will also enjoy discounts and priority seating at the World Incubation Summit and UBI on-Tour. Members also enjoy the most exclusive form of innovation networking in the world with UBI Connect, a global engagement platform for innovation hubs. Just a simple two-step process is all that stands in the way of your membership, so what are you waiting for?
Activate Your Innovation with UBI Connect: Where the Magic Happens
Making innovation happen does take a community of leaders and mentors, and UBI Connect is your chance to embrace the world of business incubation and acceleration and the innovation supported. UBI Connect embodies the five biggest benefits of connecting with your peers in the innovation community, which are:
- Peer Advice – Tap into knowledge not otherwise accessible from the innovation community at large. Networking with the best-performing programs means gaining advice and learning a fresh approach to challenges as well as opportunities. This practical information from fellow professionals supports initiatives for improvement, growth, and sustainability.
- Business Opportunities – You never know what opportunities are around the next corner. Becoming visible in the global ecosystem is an easy way to meet peers and uncover opportunities for impactful collaborations. Meeting in real life evolves and becomes targeted as well as effective, after establishing a connection online first.
- Friendship – Like-minded innovators exchanging information and experiences within the UBI Connect platform will encourage each other, meet face-to-face on a regular basis at events such as the World Incubation Summit, and form a strong bond of friendship and support. Surrounding yourself with positive people encourages growth and provides inspiration.
- Personal Growth – Regularly sharing knowledge and useful information makes one smarter and increases one’s reputation as a thought leader. Relationships developed thanks to UBI Connect can further careers.
- New Ideas – Perhaps the most obvious benefit of becoming active in UBI Connect, is being able to connect with peers in the same community and build relationships. From these connections and the trust they are built upon, come new ideas and opportunities for growth that are unrestricted by borders or geographies.
Through an intuitive menu that is both easy and smart, UBI Connect will become your go-to application for sharing ideas and posting thoughts. The Live Feed area of the platform is for quick news items at-a-glance while longer discussions take place in the Forum section that features categorized topic headings. Separate sections for News and Events are available to publish information to users about exciting activities that programs are participating in no matter where they are the world. Finally, the Incubators & Accelerators, People and Companies areas of the platforms are where users can find important networking contacts, post new ideas and best practices, and share useful solutions.
UBI Connect is free with your Membership, along with other exciting opportunities including the UBI Global World Benchmark Study, the World Incubation Summit and the exciting World Startup Challenge.
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