Jo Eckert, West Des Moines Business Incubator Executive, Earns Certification

Jo Eckert, assistant executive director of the West Des Moines Business Incubator, recently completed the National Business Incubation Association’s Incubator Management Certificate Program.

The educational program provides a comprehensive and practical overview of the tasks and responsibilities of managing business incubators, which are programs that accelerate the successful development of start-up and emerging companies by providing entrepreneurs with resources and services.

Launched in 2007, the certificate program is designed to enhance managers’ skills and to provide them with opportunities to gain ideas for building stronger relationships with key constituents, providing effective client services, ensuring incubator sustainability and more.

NBIA officials say receiving a certificate is a mark of distinction verifying mastery of incubator governance, services and policies.

“We thought it would be helpful for NBIA to establish a base of knowledge that every incubator manager should know, regardless of the type of incubator they run,” said Tom Strodtbeck, NBIA director of events and international programs. “The certificate program is a way for people to track their progress in gaining that knowledge.”

To receive a certificate, incubator managers must complete a total of 24 hours of training, including three full-day workshops designed specifically for the program and five elective 75-minute sessions offered at NBIA’s annual conference. Workshops and sessions cover a range of topics, including incubator finances,strategic planning, graduation policies and procedures, client selection, and facilities management.

Business incubation programs, such as the West Des Moines Business Incubator, catalyze the process of starting and growing companies by providing entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools they need to make their ventures successful.

NBIA estimates that in 2005, the most recent year these data were collected, North American incubators assisted more than 27,000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for more than 100,000 workers and generated annual revenue of more than $17 billion.

The West Des Moines Business Incubator began operations in November 2010. The Incubator is home to nine companies at this time. Their scope ranges from engineering, software development, social media, private cloud computing, and electronic gaming, to name a few.

The first graduate of the Incubator was Appcore, owned by Brian Patrick Donaghy.

The National Business Incubation Association is the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship. It provides thousands of professionals with information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies.

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