It was very fruitful, 2 day long discussion about innovation ecosystem and effective incubation process with PPNT special guests CEO of InBIA https://inbia.org/. Kirstie Chadwick and Giordano Dichter, an expert in business incubation from EBN http://ebn.be/. The meeting took place on 20-21 April 2017. During the first day PPNT ESSPO team (https://www.interregeurope.eu/esspo/) continued discussion about the incubation with regional stakeholders. On Friday, representatives of Polish business and innovation centers came to Poznań to get inspired and exchange the knowledge.
Kirstie Chadwick is familiar with various innovation ecosystems all over the world. “Everyone mentions the Silicon Valley and Boston when asked about leading entrepreneurship and innovation centres. Instead of focusing on the most popular ecosystems, it is a good idea to find one’s own benchmark with similar capacities” – explains CEO of InBIA. During the meeting in Poznań the President of InBIA shared her observations and experience. Our expert from EBN presented the standards of services offered by business environment institutions. He also mentioned how to design the services in a professional way while respecting market needs and requirements. “The challenges that Poznan is facing are not so different from those of other ecosystems around the globe. These relate to business community development and to the understanding that working together is a must in times of global competition. Institutions and organization could find common grounds on the development of specific entrepreneurship services, such as a common mentor network” – says Giordano Dichter.
Here are some key points from the discussion:
- Serving entrepreneurs should be the top goal for regional collaboration between the various research parks and entrepreneurship programs.
- Successful local entrepreneurs should have key leadership roles in the ecosystem.
- A broad mentor network should be developed with defined criteria for both mentors and company engagement. Mentors should mainly be experienced entrepreneurs, technical experts or corporate industry veterans.
- Incubators should ask companies not growing or not meeting expected criteria to leave – it makes room for new more innovative and creative companies.
- Parks should create awareness by monthly, organically supported events (monthly meetups, peer-based pitch events, etc) by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs.
- Incubators should create demand/awareness by making it competitive to be accepted into programs, have clear criteria for acceptance and graduation.
- Assessing the impact of the operations of an innovation center is quite a demanding task, but it needs to be done to prove the efficacy of the programs. However it is fundamental to choose the right key performance indicators and to couple the quantitative analysis with a sound qualitative analysis which will ensure that the success stories are recognized and showcased.