The Bessemer Business Incubation System (BBIS) is a division of the Bessemer Development Board. The BBIS serves as the small business wing of the Bessemer Development Board and serves/houses businesses with revenues up to $5,000,000.
The BBIS began in 1996 with the opening of the Bessemer Business Center. At that time, the Bessemer Business Center was the only facility in the state of Alabama that had been built specifically to be an incubator. The design of the facility remains one that is often toured. The incubator program physically expanded in 2001 with the addition of the Downtown Entrepreneurial Center. The downtown facility was started for two reasons, the success of the initial facility and a need by the Bessemer Development Board to show that the downtown Bessemer area can once again sustain viable businesses. To date that effort has been successful with the downtown facility maintaining at least a 70% occupancy rate.
The incubator serves nearly every type of business. The incubator provides in-house services to service, light industrial/manufacturing, technology and wholesale/distribution businesses. The only business genre the incubator cannot house within its walls are retail establishments. Also, the incubator serves not only startup operations but challenged, former home based, geographically expanding and those operations still in the research/feasibility phase. Businesses can remain in the incubator for up to 5 years.
The incubator program belongs to the National Business Incubation Association, Appalachian Regional Commission Network of Incubators, Tennessee Valley Authority Network of Incubators and the Alabama Business Incubation Network.
The BBIS is composed of the following two locations:
Bessemer Business Center
Downtown Entrepreneurial Center