Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund
Funded by a grant from the Dogwood Health Trust, the Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund was created in response to the needs of local small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area, particularly those who are interested in opening a business in the Main Street and 7th Avenue Districts that make up Historic Downtown Hendersonville. The program aims to support entrepreneurs at different stages of business - from idea to growth - by providing training, technical assistance and access to loan capital.
The Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund includes support for entrepreneurs interested in launching or growing their downtown Hendersonville businesses. Training and program offerings are available to anyone, however there is focused outreach to low-to-moderate income residents, women, and people of color, paying close attention to the 7th Avenue District which was historically a hub of Black-owned businesses.
Upcoming Trainings & Events
The following classes and training sessions are scheduled to kick off the program:
May 11 - 5:30pm - 7:30pm - How to Start a Business in the Summer of 2023 - Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center - Free - (RSVP Required)
May 23, 9 - 11 a.m. – Commercial Real Estate: Financing for BIPOC Entrepreneurs with Mountain BizWorks and Partners in Equity at Daddy D’s Suber Soulfood – free breakfast and informational session (RSVP Required)
June 8 - 10am - 11am (Virtual) Commercial Real Estate 101: From Contracts to Closings (RSVP Required)
June 9 - 10am - 11am (Virtual) Commercial Leasing 101: Empowering Tenants through Lease Negotiation (RSVP Required)
June 12 -5:30pm - 7:30 pm How to Create and Present a Winning Business Pitch - Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center - Free - (RSVP Required)
June 13 - 5:30pm - 7:30 pm - Financing Your Business - Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center - Free - (RSVP Required)
June 15 - 5:30pm - 7:30 pm - Best Free and Low-Cost Marketing for 2023 - Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center - Free - (RSVP Required)
July 18– Mountain BizWorks Foundations Course - Join a cohort of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to gain all of the foundational business skills needed to turn your business dream into a reality. Qualifying residents may receive a scholarship up to 90% of the course cost. (More information & Register Here)
Who can participate?
The centerpoint of the Downtown Opportunity Fund is a small business loan program in partnership with Mountain BizWorks to provide loan capital for businesses that are not otherwise eligible for traditional bank financing.
Trainings & Classes
A variety of training and classes are offered for any business to participate free of charge. Some trainings with a cost associated with them will have scholarship eligibility as noted on the classes or programs.
Networking & Cohort w/ Black Wall Street AVL
In order to help connect with historically underutilized businesses, program partners Black Wall Street will provide an important connector between resources available. BWS AVL utilizes a ‘family’ model for new entrepreneurs of color in order to increase accountability and camaraderie among new business owners. Entrepreneurs of color who live in Hendersonville City Limits or are interested in opening a business in Downtown Hendersonville will be eligible for free or reduced membership to Black Wall Street AVL.
Why a Loan Fund?
Hendersonville recognizes that the strength of our economy is built on small businesses. We want to continue to encourage new innovation, expanding our reach, unique and authentic experiences
Startup small businesses cannot get funding from a traditional bank :
- To fund a new business, people use:
- Down payment
- Home equity
- Credit card
- What is a CDFI?
Community Development Financial Institutions exist to provide access to credit and other services that contribute to the economic stabilization of families and communities. Mountain BizWorks is one of nearly 1,300 CDFIs operating in the US—200 being in the Southeast and only 16 in North Carolina. Find out more about Mountain BizWorks here.
Mountain BizWorks’ mission is to build a vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial community in Western North Carolina by helping small businesses start, grow, and thrive. When small businesses succeed, we all prosper.
Black Wall Street AVL was started during the middle of the pandemic in 2020, as a way to help grow and support local Black Businesses in the wake of the tragic George Floyd murders. As gentrification has continued to impact our community, we recognize the need for a dedicated space where Black business owners could come together and receive the support and resources they need to keep thriving.
Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by being a community-based provider of training, counseling, and resource information.
Dogwood Health Trust is a private foundation based in Asheville, North Carolina with the sole purpose of dramatically improving the health and wellbeing of all people and communities of 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina. Dogwood Health Trust focuses on innovative and equitable ways to address the many factors that contribute to overall health and wellbeing. With a focus on housing, education, economic opportunity and health and wellness, Dogwood Health Trust works to create a Western North Carolina where every generation can live, learn, earn and thrive, with dignity and opportunity for all, no exceptions. To learn more, please visit www.dht.org.