Deep Dive: Staffing

People, roles and tasks.


Staffing is obviously key for any incubator. Staff deal not only with daily tasks like running the incubation programme, administration, etc. but also with stakeholder relationships, funding issues and so much more.

Therefore, closely related to the issue of staffing, are sources of income and incubator stakeholders, their demands and the management structure of the incubator. All these will impact your resources and therefore staff management.

In addition, this is all related to the goal of your incubator. What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? These questions impact staff management as well. You might not be able to have sufficient resources to deal with all issues equally or adequately. 

E.g. an incubator might only have one permanent staff and they would mostly deal with CEO-level issues (i.e. stakeholder relations, funding, etc.). Therefore, a focus of staff resources on a specific activity might have a negative impact on other parts of your incubator, e.g. your incubation services.

General Considerations of Staffing

The success of an incubator is very much people-driven. It is defined by the abilities of key people running it. The success of an incubator is also very much based on the personal drive and motivation that they bring to the job. After all, an incubator is mostly similar to a start-up, constantly trying to survive and to develop its programme.

While this issue might not be solved due to the nature of incubators, there are still practical steps to take. Documentation is key to detaching an incubator’s success from single individuals. Only through proper documentation are incubators able to move from single individual drivers to structures that variety of staff is able to operate. Ultimately, the challenge for incubators is to successfully transition from the first couple of years to a bigger and sustainable organisation.

Specific Roles

Rather than listing people-specific items, the list below is centered around tasks and roles.

Core tasks / roles

  • Financial administration
  • Daily location administration / office management
  • CEO-type / -level (e.g. funding, stakeholder relationships, etc.)
  • Programme development / incubation (building network within industry, network of advisors)

Additional tasks / roles

  • Marketing
  • Community management
  • Business development
  • Public relations

External tasks / roles

  • Coaching / Mentorship
  • Specialist advisors (i.e. lawyers, accountants)