The grand opening celebration for the new Cumberland Business Incubator will be held on Thursday at Roane State Community College’s Cumberland County campus. Tours of the facility and other activities will begin at 10 a.m. The ribbon-cutting ceremony begins at 1 p.m.

The Cumberland Business Incubator will officially open its doors Thursday with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at Roane State Community College Crossville campus at 2569 Cook Rd.

Activities will begin at 10 a.m., including free tours of the facility that will promote economic growth by supporting the growth of small business. For would-be entrepreneurs, the Cumberland Business Incubator, or CBI, will help turn an idea into a well-planned, viable business venture.

“In one location and at an affordable cost, entrepreneurs can have office space, access to business services, assistance from expert advisors and encouragement to turn their dreams into viable businesses,” said Robert Safdie, director of the CBI. “Small businesses drive the economy, and the CBI will play an important role in developing new small businesses for this community.”

The incubator is a 10,000-square-foot, energy efficient business facility with nine office areas and three bays suitable for light manufacturing operations. The building will have a break room, a conference room, receptionist area, mail room, shipping and receiving area for large packages, three wet labs, security and Internet and phone services.

The CBI can support up to 12 qualified entrepreneurs. Applicants eligible for the CBI’s services include:

• new small businesses with growth potential

• entrepreneurs with a well-defined business concept who need help to get started

• college or high school students with a good idea how to start a growth business.

The project is unique because it not only provides a brick-and-mortar location to house businesses, but also access to advisors and mentors who can help businesses deal with the challenges they face during their first three years of operation.

Partners in the project, in addition to Roane State and the county and city, include the Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Technological University, the Cumberland County School System, and the Tennessee Technology Center. Financing for the CBI was supported with federal, state and local resources. The Cumberland County Commission and Crossville City Council each committed $250,000 for construction of the CBI. In addition, Roane State received an $880,000 grant from the EDA.

The Tennessee Board of Regents, which oversees the state’s public community colleges and the public universities outside the University of Tennessee system, made land available for constructing the building on the Cumberland County campus, 2567 Cook Road in Crossville. Roane State will operate the CBI.

In addition to tours, the Small Business Development Centers and CBI's business advisors will be offering free professional business advisement from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday.

Other events include an art show and exhibit of local artists by Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression; poster presentation by Mind Your Own Business participants, the summer youth entrepreneurship camp; free barbecue lunch compliments of the city of Crossville with John Teeples smoking his famous barbecue and the Junior Achievement students acting as servers; free 10-minute massages sponsored by Caring Touch Therapeutic Massage and Nature's Way Massage; and music and entertainment by Walter Tollett and the Trackside Band.

Scheduled speakers for the 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony include state Sen. Charlotte Burks, D-Monterey; state Rep. Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville; Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr.; Crossville Mayor J.H. Graham III; ECD Assistant Commissioner Will Alexander; Roane State President Dr. Gary Goff; and other dignitaries from across the state.

For more information about the grand opening, or the CBI’s services, contact Safdie at (931) 456-4910 or safdiecbi@roanestate.edu.

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