Our history is deeply connected to the economic growth and entrepreneurial creativity that is synonymous with Middle Tennessee.
For more than three decades, the Nashville Business Incubation Center has provided business development resources to entrepreneurs, helping them to grow their enterprises, create jobs, and generate wealth in their respective communities.
The Economic and Community Development Department of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) submitted in 1983 a proposal to Congress for a three-phase project with the distinct purpose of accelerating job creation in economically disadvantaged areas in Nashville. Congress approved the measure and provided federal funds to jumpstart the project. The Incubation Center represents Phase II of this project. At the time, our objective was to decrease the enormous failure rate of small businesses by providing the affordable rental space, along with managerial and technical assistance necessary to ensure business success.
The following year, TVA appointed a board of Nashville professionals to manage the Incubation Center. That board became Growth Enterprises Nashville, Inc. (GENI), and in 1986, GENI opened the Nashville Business Incubation Center (NBIC) as a non-profit incubator. TVA and GENI partnered with Tennessee State University to house the Incubation Center on its campus. For 31 years, the Incubation Center played a role in launching some of Middle Tennessee’s most well-known companies, including Christie Cookie Company, Zycron, Ad Tech Digital and more.
In 2017, the Incubation Center moved its location to Germantown in Nashville. Today, with more than 30 years of success, the Nashville Business Incubation Center continues to play a vital role in strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Middle Tennessee, growing small businesses from tiny acorns to mighty oaks.
NBIC continues its legacy as the premiere business development resource center in Middle Tennessee.
Why We Love Trees
We live by our motto, “Growing Businesses from Tiny Acorns to Mighty Oaks.” Just as tiny acorns grow into mighty oaks, our small businesses transform into successful, sustainable, and scalable enterprises.
Acorns are often underestimated. Most notice an acorn on the ground and think nothing of it. Similarly, our businesses start out small – many of them begin as “mom-and-pop” shops with fewer than five employees.
Once an acorn is provided water, soil, and sunlight, it enters the seedling stage and becomes well-positioned for growth. At the Incubation Center, we provide our small businesses with the nurturing and resources they need to grow.
Over time, the acorn absorbs nutrition and evolves into a sapling, which is a young tree. In this stage, our small businesses have also established solid foundations and have been provided the human resources, accounting, legal, and marketing resources to develop successful enterprises. They may add more members to their team or increase their company’s revenue.
At the final stage, the small, overlooked acorn has transformed into a mighty, majestic oak. As oak trees can live up to 1,000 years, our businesses become sustainable and scalable enterprises that continue to succeed following graduation. Trees are essential to human existence as they cleanse the air and provide oxygen. Similarly, these businesses are focused on strengthening the economy by creating jobs and wealth, especially in marginalized communities.
With the appropriate nutrition, persistence, and time, a tiny acorn will grow into a mighty oak that has a steadfast foundation to withstand any storm that comes its way. And, that’s exactly what our businesses become – strong enough to weather any storm.