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Business Incubators Receive Boost from New ARC Partnership with TVA and NBIA

December 2010


WASHINGTON, December 9, 2010—The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced today a new partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) to develop the Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking program to help business incubators more effectively nurture small, emerging enterprises.

There are an estimated 150 business incubators currently serving 4,500 emerging firms in the regions served by ARC and TVA.

Developed in response to requests from incubator managers, the new program will assess existing incubation practices, noting areas of high achievement and offering suggestions when opportunities for improvement are identified.

The roll-out of the Peer-to-Peer Benchmarking program culminates a two-year development effort by the partners to create and test the program.

ARC Federal Co-Chair Earl F. Gohl welcomed the new program: "Peer-to-peer benchmarking is a cost-effective means of providing an incubation program with a blueprint to help it remain true to its mission," he said.

Benchmarking teams will help incubator managers in the regions to:

  • Confirm program excellence;
  • Make contact with top industry professionals;
  • Develop information and tools to improve program performance;
  • Learn about a range of best practices; and
  • Gain objective feedback and support for necessary improvements.

Review team members will be chosen on the basis of their expertise in identifying strengths and potential weaknesses in incubator operations.

"TVA is pleased to partner with ARC and NBIA to offer this valuable peer-to-peer benchmarking review," said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley. "By participating in this program, business incubators incorporate best practices to accelerate the successful development of entrepreneurial companies, resulting in more jobs and investments."

Incubators interested in drawing on the services of a benchmarking review team will need to invest only $1,000 in order to participate in the program, with ARC or TVA offsetting other program costs. The partners estimate the value of such a review, if conducted privately, at up to $25,000.

For more information about the program, visit NBIA's Web site or contact ARC business development analyst David Hughes at