German Electronic Distributor – alfatec – Joins International Soft Landings Program

February 26, 2023.  Electronics distributor alfatec from Germany joins a growing list of European companies with USA operations via the Soft Landings Program located at the ETSU Innovation Lab.

East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) Innovation Lab (a business incubator) in partnership with the Northeast Tennessee Valley Regional Industrial Development Association (NETVRIDA) has developed an internationally certified Soft Landings Program to enable European companies to enter the USA/North American market. Services include affordable office space, translation, legal assistance, marketing help and a range of items depending on a company’s needs.  Specific assistance is also provided in the areas of domestic product research, legal services, market entry and human resources, among many others. In addition, NETVRIDA can offer a free rent period for office space at the Innovation Lab to reduce a company’s initial operating expense.

Located in Johnson City, Tennessee next to the East Tennessee State University main and medical campuses, the Innovation Lab Soft Landings program provides resources that ensure companies a “soft landing” or smooth transition into the U.S. business world.  This program is designed for small/medium sized firms who can benefit from a trial period evaluating options for the U.S. market.

The ETSU-NETVRIDA Soft Landings Program is unique in the USA in how assistance is provided to international companies.  USA states or regions offering assistance to companies universally have minimum investment and job creation criteria as a requirement for receiving financial or technical assistance.  However, the Northeast Tennessee program has no minimum requirements.  A company can have only one or very few employees to begin their USA operation and choose to hire additional people or secure a larger business location as sales grow while participating in the Soft Landings Program.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the Soft Landings Program is advice from the German companies experiencing sales success and already established in the Northeast Tennessee region.  The advice is free and from company to company rather than by paid consultants.  There are also instances where a German Soft Landings company may provide direct services or products to another one in the network.  With the breakdown of global supply chains in recent years, suppliers being close to their customer base is more critical than ever as well as increasing sales close to the home location.

“The Soft Landings Program made our start in the USA very easy with help provided in every step setting up the office. We have benefited from advice from other German companies located in the area and Northeast Tennessee offers outstanding affordability as a business location,” said Axel Hebmüller, CEO of Hebmüller Aerospace.

A number of German manufacturers have found success in Northeast Tennessee via the Soft Landings Program.  Some of the German companies receiving assistance from the program include Hebmüller Aerospace headquartered in Kaarst, Steel Service Krefeld, FWG Springs from Grevenbroich, Wetekam Monofilaments from Melsungen, senswork from Burghausen, alfatec located in Rednitzhembach and Goessling-Joest from Dülmen .  In addition, larger German companies such as Mahle, ebm-papst, and the Huf Automotive Group have selected Northeast Tennessee for major facilities.

For more information contact Alan Bridwell at +1 423 794-9290 or e-mail