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National Business Incubation Association selects Orlando as new headquarters

August 7, 2014

(ORLANDO, Fla.) – The National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) the world’s leading organization advancing business and entrepreneurship, announced today it will relocate its headquarters and the formation of the Global Training Center for Business Incubation & Innovation to Orlando from Athens, Ohio, to service more than 2,200 members worldwide.

Orlando’s nationally recognized incubation and entrepreneurship resources have earned praise from Entrepreneur Magazine and American City Business Journals as one of the top places in the country to grow or start a small business. Orlando recently was ranked Florida’s top city for overall friendliness toward small businesses by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Thumbtack.

“NBIA selected Orlando because of its reputation as being the home of entrepreneurship and innovation, making it the ideal place to expand our programs and enhance our mission,” said Karl R. LaPan, NBIA’s Board Chairman and interim President and CEO. “The fact that the Orlando region has one of the best business incubation network systems in the world is icing on the cake.”

Already home to the National Entrepreneur Center – one of only two such centers in the nation – Orlando also boasts the University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) – one of the largest in the Southeast and named the 2013 NBIA Incubator Network of the Year.

“The UCF Business Incubation Program is one of the best in the country, and Orange County has been a proud supporter and funder of this program for over a decade,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “Along with a number of other small business, minority development and entrepreneurial programs that are already established in our community, NBIA’s relocation of their headquarters to Orange County is a perfect fit with our focus on growing jobs by creating a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.”   

NBIA officials said they plan to establish the new headquarters and Global Training Center for Business Incubation & Innovation in the Central Florida Research Park and look forward to partnering with existing incubation and entrepreneurship programs throughout the region, as well as developing global partnerships. With more than 900 member organizations worldwide, NBIA provides education, advocacy and networking resources to early-stage companies.

Incoming NBIA Chairman Elect and Executive Director of the UCF Business Incubation Program Tom O’Neal said, “The relocation of the NBIA to Orlando puts the region in the forefront of innovation-related activity in the world. By working with the NBIA and having direct access to its expertise, we hope to further strengthen the region’s innovation culture by building stronger and more successful companies.”

While UCF’s BIP focuses on startup companies, currently serving 148 clients across four counties, the university has expanded its entrepreneurial resources to include services for innovators in multiple stages, from students to small businesses to second-stage companies and more. It recently formed a new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to allow seamless access for clients in any stage.

“Our region’s cutting-edge commitment to entrepreneurs, including some of the nation’s finest incubators, the GrowFL economic gardening programs and more make this the perfect stage from which NBIA can promote that kind of activity around the world,” said Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) President Randy Berridge, adding that the FHTCC would provide support for facilities and administration.

NBIA says it also plans to work closely with Orlando’s National Entrepreneur Center, which has coached and trained more than 100,000 businesses and facilitated more than $150 million in loans since its inception in 2003.

“This is truly a win-win for our region as we welcome the premier organization for business incubation in the country, and NBIA joins an entrepreneurial community that has been nationally recognized for collaboration,” said Jerry Ross, Executive Director of the National Entrepreneur Center. “This is very good for the Orlando area, NBIA and for innovative companies everywhere.”

“NBIA’s decision to relocate here is a great opportunity for the whole community,” said Rick Weddle, President and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission, which assisted NBIA in its headquarters relocation decision. “It will benefit UCF’s currently established incubation program, small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs.”

Initially, NBIA considered more than 30 cities for its new headquarters, narrowing its final list to Orlando, Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix.

Partners on the project include the Orlando Economic Development Commission, University of Central Florida, Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange County, the City of Orlando and the National Entrepreneur Center.


National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) is the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship, with 930 organizations and 2,200 professional members in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1985, NBIA has provided industry professionals with information, education, advocacy and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early-stage companies. NBIA business incubation programs 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 2011 alone North American incubators assisted approximately 49,000 start-up companies that provided full-time employment for nearly 200,000 workers and generated annual revenue of nearly $15 billion.

UCF Business Incubation Program (UCFBIP) is a non-profit community resource, which provides early-stage companies with the tools, training and infrastructure to become financially stable, high growth/impact enterprises. Since 1999, this award-winning program has helped hundreds of local startup companies (including nearly 150 current clients and more than 100 graduates) reach their potential faster by providing vital business development resources. With eight facilities throughout the region, the UCF Business Incubation Program is an economic development partnership between the University of Central Florida, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia Counties, and the cities of Apopka, Kissimmee, Orlando, St. Cloud and Winter Springs.

Florida High Tech Corridor Council (FHTCC) is an economic development initiative of the University of Central Florida (UCF), the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Florida (UF). The mission of FHTCC is to grow high tech industry and innovation through partnerships that support research, marketing, workforce and entrepreneurship. The unique partnership of more than 20 local and regional economic development organizations, 14 state/community colleges and 10 workforce boards has resulted in a strategic approach to high tech economic development that supports matching funds research, marketing, workforce development and entrepreneurship leveraging governmental, EDO and corporate budgets on a regional rather than local basis.

Orlando Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a not-for-profit, public-private partnership that attracts, retains and grows jobs for the region. The EDC serves Orange, Seminole, Lake and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in Florida. Since its start in 1977, the EDC, with the support of its community partners, has assisted thousands of companies relocate and expand in the four-county Orlando region. This has led to more than 176,750 jobs announced; $9.5 billion in capital investment; and more than 79.7 million square feet of office and industrial space leased or constructed. For more information, visit www.OrlandoEDC.com.

National Entrepreneur Center (NEC) is home to a variety of independent business organizations that offer free business coaching, low-cost business training, and a variety of networking events and business resources designed to accelerate the growth and development of small businesses. Founded in 2003, through the public-private partnership of Walt Disney World, Orange County Government and the University of Central Florida, this shared facility and collaborative approach to small business development has attracted national recognition as a model of efficiency and leverage. Since inception, the resident organizations of the NEC have trained and counseled small businesses in record numbers, while creating nationally recognized business development programs.

Contact NBIA

Phone: (740) 593-4331
Fax: (740) 593-1996
340 West State Street, Unit 25
Athens, OH 45701-1565
info@nbia.org