Equitable entrepreneurship in Asheville, NC

Photo by @joybells1964

November is National Entrepreneurship Month, and to commemorate we’re showcasing a local organization that’s helped countless startups, small businesses, and aspiring entrepreneurs for 30+ years throughout WNC: Mountain BizWorks

In the last few years, a major focus of Mountain BizWorks has been to increase access for community members overlooked by traditional lenders. Read on to learn more about three of its biggest initiatives.

Mountain Community Capital Fund

  • Launched in Aug. 2019, this loan guarantee fund offers capital in the range of $5,000 to $70,000 and is intended for business owners who don’t have collateral and therefore are often denied a loan. It was created in collaboration with Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Mountain BizWorks, Self-Help Credit Union, the City of Asheville + Buncombe County. Low income borrowers and entrepreneurs of color are encouraged to apply. Application details

Multicultural Catalyst Fund

  • This fund was rolled out in May 2021 and is designed to address the historic challenges + inequities facing the city’s Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs by encouraging them to enter into industries that have higher rates of growth + success. It offers tailored funding to folks that are traditionally ignored. Also way cool? The org provides ongoing business and leadership skills development for entrepreneurs of color. Submit interest form

Catalyst Cohort 

  • This year-long program is for existing entrepreneurs of color looking to become more successful, and pairs fellow business owners together in monthly sessions. The first three months include instruction on developing action plans and foundational business strategies. Participants can also take advantage of individualized coaching sessions with program facilitators and Mountain BizWorks coaches. Submit interest form