Mountain BizWorks (MBW) has selected 15 small businesses in the region with strong potential for growth and job creation to take part in the third cohort of their ScaleUp WNC program, which began last Friday. Innovation Brewing, a seven-barrel brewery located in Sylva, and Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon, a Waynesville company that handcrafts seasonally produced jams, pickles, and artisan foods, are participating. The initiative, made possible with financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration, aims to provide these businesses and fellow WNC entrepreneurs with intensive growth strategy development, mentorship, access-to-capital support, and a rich network of peer business owners.ScaleUp WNC launched in 2015, and funding will allow the nonprofit to continue hosting two cohorts annually through 2019. MBW says the end result of the high-impact initiative will be a diverse and distinguished group of entrepreneurs able to drive innovation and economic development across WNC for a long time to come. Thirty companies completed the program in 2015. To date, one-third of those alumni have already secured growth capital, and many more have met other major milestones—a testament to ScaleUp WNC’s design and curriculum.“We’ve been pleased with the outcomes of the program to date,” shares Matt Raker, director of community investments and impact at MBW. “It has provided and will continue to provide much-needed support to area ventures that are primed for expansion, so that they can experience sustained success while creating jobs and making a positive impact on our local economy.”The complete list of 2016 ScaleUp WNC participating businesses follows: Black Mountain Ciderworks (Black Mountain), Blue Ridge Energy Works (Boone), Brian Boggs Chairmakers (Asheville), Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon (Waynesville), East Fork Pottery (Marshall), Innovation Brewing (Sylva), Kudzu Brands (Black Mountain), Medea’s Espresso & Juice Bar (Arden), No Evil Foods (Asheville), Organic Planet Cleaning (Asheville), Outfitter Bicycle Tours (Hendersonville), Pisgah Pest Control (Brevard), Port City Amplification (Swannanoa), Printville (Asheville), and Still Point Wellness (Asheville).“In year one, we helped businesses scale from Boone to Bryson City, and we’re excited to work with companies from seven WNC counties this spring,” says Raker. “We’re also pleased that two-thirds of the businesses are women-owned, minority-owned, or based in a rural community, as our mission is to create economic opportunity for all.”MBW has received more than 45 applications for the 2016 program. Cohort 3 began Friday, March 4, and runs through mid-May. The following cohort will run from June through September. Applications are continuing to be accepted for Cohort 4 and are due by April 17.
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