Toronto, Ontario – May 29, 2014 – Dr. Brian Barge, President and CEO of The Evidence Network (TEN), a global leader in the assessment of innovation impact, spoke at the NBIA International Conference on Business Incubation. Nearly 600 business incubator managers and economic development professionals attended this conference.
In a session entitled How are you really impacting clients? Dr. Barge spoke about the need for incubator leaders to communicate their real impact to key stakeholders, including funders.
“20 to 50% of incubators lose their funding or have their funding reduced each year,” said Dr. Barge. “Incubator managers lose funding because traditional methods don’t tell the whole impact story. Our clients recognize this to be a real and immediate issue.”
Dr. Barge described how incubator managers are ensuring their future funding by capturing and showing attributed impact – the portion of company growth that the companies themselves attribute to their incubator. Growth numbers without attribution are not enough. He quoted a TEN customer – “If my clients say I have specific impacts, then I have those impacts.”
Dr. Barge also described how incubator leaders further enrich their impact story using measures of their incubator’s impact on the resources and capabilities of their clients. Incubators’ impacts on, for example, operational knowledge, strategic knowledge, access to facilities, business linkages, and access to financing help tell their whole impact story.
“Incubator managers can now rethink their approaches to communicating their impact,” said Dr. Barge. “Measuring attributed impact on company performance, and impact on company resources and capabilities are two powerful, now proven, approaches to ensuring funding.”