Devron Veasley, director of the Bessemer Business Incubation System, was named First Vice Chairman of the National Business Incubation Association Board of Directors during a recent board meeting in Denver. He was also recently named to a position on the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Incubator Steering Committee.
In his six years as director of BBIS, Veasley, a dynamic and inspiring spokesman, has used his economic and small business development experience to help double the incubator’s facility size, nearly triple its client list, and institute the utilization of a revolving loan program. Most recently, his advice and training activities have been instrumental in the development of the Renasant Center for IDEAS in Tupelo Mississippi and the Center for Innovation and Commerce, a virtual incubator in Shelby County, Alabama. Veasley also serves as president of the Alabama Business Incubation Network.
Prior to joining BBIS, Veasley served as director of the Auburn University Small Business Development Center and was an adjunct instructor in the Auburn management department and other area colleges.
Business incubation programs like BBIS catalyze the process of starting and growing companies by providing entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and tools they need to make their ventures successful. Since the inception of the BBIS in 1996, the incubator has housed 55 companies and assisted another 70 external clients; the incubator currently houses 21 ongoing concerns. The Bessemer Business Incubation System generated a local, state and federal economic impact of over 33 million dollars in FY2005.
Based in Athens, OH, the National Business Incubation Association is the worlds’ leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship – providing industry professionals with information, education and networking resources to bring excellence to the process of assisting early stage companies. NBIA’s membership currently includes over 800 incubators in 42 countries.
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), through its Area Development Program – Entrepreneurship Initiative, recognizes that small, homegrown businesses play an important role in creating self-sustaining local economies and improving the quality of life in Appalachia. The Entrepreneurship Initiative, one of four regional initiatives undertaken by ARC in recent years, is a multi-year, $31 million effort that seeks to provide communities with tools to assist entrepreneurs in starting and expanding local businesses. Key activities include:
- Giving entrepreneurs greater access to capital
- Educating and training entrepreneurs
- Encouraging sector-based strategies to maximize the economic strengths of local communities and
- Providing strategic support for business incubators
Under the initiative, ARC has funded 368 entrepreneurship projects that have created more than 1,200 new businesses and created or retained more than 5,000 jobs throughout the Appalachian Region. These projects have leveraged over $45 million from other sources to support entrepreneurial activities in the Region. The ARC region consists of 13 states.