Cities in Action: Supporting New Business By Connecting Entrepreneurs to Resources

City Name: Asheville, NC

Problem: While successful in supporting traditional mom and pop small businesses and growing to meet the needs of “natural product” makers, Asheville lacked a focus on the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Solution: With no research university in the region, Asheville built its own central entrepreneurship program at the Economic Development Coalition (EDC) of Asheville-Buncombe, the organization that conducts economic development for the city and county. The new program, Venture Asheville, fosters entrepreneurship by connecting the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for a more seamless and supportive environment.

Outcome: By 2012, Venture Asheville was launched and housed at the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) campus. Events including Asheville Startup Weekend and Venture Asheville Networking create opportunities for pitch competition and for entrepreneurs to learn from each other. City staff also are building connections to the entrepreneurial community by participating on the boards with many key stakeholders.

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