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Innovation Lab

Research and Sponsored Programs

International Soft Landings


International Soft Landings Designation


The InBIA Soft Landings designation lets foreign firms know that International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), the world's leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship, has identified an incubator as having specialized programs and/or facilities for helping companies break into new markets. Less than 0.2% of incubators throughout the
world have this prestigious designation.

InBIA Logo 

to learn more click here.

ETSU Innovation Lab's director, Dr. Audrey Depelteau, set a goal in 2011 to create the collaborative partnerships and programs as well as recruitment of 2 international companies in order to meet the prerequisites to apply for and receive this prestigious designation.  

Through collaborations and partnerships between The Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Association (NETVRIDA), ETSU Administration, local and regional economic development agencies and various other stakeholders, as well as a shared commitment to the economic development of Northeast Tennessee, The Innovation Lab was awarded the Soft Landings Designation in January of 2015. 


  • ETSU Assistance
    The University offers a wealth of resources to meet the essential needs of the foreign companies
  • Community Assistance through local
      • Economic Development Councils
      • Chambers of Commerce
      • Power Boards 

Key Highlights of the Northeast Tennessee Region

  • Logistically advantageous, Johnson City is located halfway between Boston and Miami.
  • Tri Cities Regional Airport is home to both a U.S. Customs Port #2082 and a Foreign Trade Zone #204
  • Lower taxes, tax breaks, communities and economic development councils willing to help

Success Stories


FWG Logo

Springs Made to your Specifications

Conversations around the recruitment of FWG Springs began in the winter of 2012 with the expressed interest of President Manfred Albrecht to enter the US market. Through the collaboration of many partners, background information was collected and sent to Germany for his perusal. A short visit to the Tri-Cities was coordinated and in late March of 2013 Mr. Albrecht arrived and toured various international companies, met with local economic development agencies, international banks, a payroll company and insurance agents. After a successful luncheon, attended by over 45 interested parties, FWG Springs made the decision to enter the US market through the Innovation Lab beginning in May 2013.

After a successful 2 years at the Innovation Lab, that showed considerable growth, FWG Springs graduate from the Innovation Lab into their own 18,000 square foot facility located in Johnson City.  

Read more about their story here

FWG Special Springs, Inc. – U.S.
604 Rolling Hills Drive
Johnson City TN 37604

Tel.: +1 (423) 979-8472






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