Athens-Based Business Incubation Association Considers Move

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The National Business Incubation Association headquartered in Athens will be establishing a training center, but it apparently won’t be in Athens.

Jasper Welch, president and CEO of NBIA, said the organization will maintain a presence in Athens, but said he could not be more specific because details have not been worked out.

The association, which moved its headquarters to Athens in 1988 from Pennsylvania, promotes business incubation and entrepreneurship, providing information, education and networking resources. It has 930 member organizations consisting of 2,200 professionals, according to Welch.

The organization has about a half dozen employees in Athens, and a similar number at locations across the country and in Liverpool, England, Welch said.

Headquartered at the Ohio University Innovation Center, the NBIA provides training at outside locations.

“We would like to have a more permanent training facility,” Welch said.

He said 39 locations were considered, including Athens, and the number has been narrowed to “a handful.”

“At this point, it would not include Athens,” he said.

“We are looking at relocation. At this point we haven’t made a decision where,” Welch said. “We haven’t gotten everything finalized.”

The NBIA’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and Welch said final decisions should be made before then.

“At this point, we’re not prepared to make an announcement,” he said.

Welch has been a member of the association since 1999 and was hired as its president and CEO last year.

Jennifer Simon, director of the Innovation Center, said that she’s happy the association will maintain some sort of presence in Athens.

“We’ve had a longstanding relationship with them. We understand that when a business decision needs to be made and the incubation programs are changing, that the association also needs to change. We’ll miss them but we’re excited that they’ll maintain a presence in Athens,” she said.