Mountain BizWorks and Hatch receive NC IDEA Ecosystem grant to advance growth-oriented businesses across rural WNC

Share via

Funding to expand Mountain BizWorks’ ScaleUp WNC program across the region in collaboration with Hatch

Asheville,  September 27, 2018 – A collaborative initiative between Mountain BizWorks and the Hatch AVL Foundation (Hatch) to expand the successful ScaleUp WNC program across the NC mountains region is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from NC IDEA. The award is one of 13 projects statewide that received funds through NC IDEA’s ECOSYSTEM grants program.

“Through this award, we’re very pleased to be partnering with Mountain BizWorks and Hatch to further entrepreneurial opportunity across rural WNC and the statewide exchange of ideas, experiences and connections” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA.

Mountain BizWorks is a WNC-based non-profit with offices in Asheville and Boone that provides small business lending services along with peer-led entrepreneurial development programs, including ScaleUp WNC. Hatch, based in Asheville, has a growing network of seasoned entrepreneurial advisors, a physical business incubator, and a host of innovative programming aimed at enabling WNC headquartered startups to have greater market impact, faster growth, and stronger financial positioning.

The ECOSYSTEM grant will support the continuation and expansion of Mountain BizWorks’ ScaleUp WNC program including delivery 4 cohorts over the next 2 years. Cohorts will be held in the “Southwestern” and “High Country” parts of the region as well as in the Asheville area. Hatch will be joining Mountain BizWorks as a ScaleUp WNC delivery partner bringing their deep expertise in helping area businesses achieve scale. Two cohorts will be held in 2019 with full details and application information to be released later in November.

“The ScaleUp program has become a vital part of Mountain BizWorks’ platform for helping local business owners start, grow, and thrive” states Michael Mooney, chair of the Mountain BizWorks board of directors. “We’re thrilled to receive this award from NC IDEA to deliver 4 high impact cohorts over the next 2 years and to have the innovative folks at Hatch joining the ScaleUp team.”

Emily Breedlove, executive director of Hatch adds, ” Innovation emerges from every corner of our region, which is why the pairing of Hatch and ScaleUp made so much sense. With our recent strategic pivot to grow beyond the Asheville community, joining forces with a top-notch partner like Mountain BizWorks gives us the chance to more actively support the entrepreneurial ecosystem of rural WNC, in a new way.  We’re also thrilled to merge the Hatch Mentoring Community with the ScaleUp program, to provide another avenue for equipping area companies to build their growth plan.”

ScaleUp WNC provides intensive business “scale up” assistance and leadership development to existing small businesses with strong potential for growth and job creation. Eligible companies will have been in business for at least 2-3 years, and will have clearly identified opportunities for business expansion. Annual revenues will typically be greater than $250k but less than $2m at the start of the program. This stage of companies, after startup but before maturity, tends to be underserved in WNC (and nationally), so ScaleUp WNC offers a unique opportunity to help expand growth-oriented businesses and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the region.

Since its launch in 2015, ScaleUp WNC has served 6 cohorts comprising 91 WNC companies. The program has benefited a diverse group of participants as nearly half have been rural-based, nearly half have been women-owned, and several more (7) were minority-owned or veteran-owned. Participants have also hailed from all corners of WNC from Sparta to Asheville to Robbinsville. Following each cohort, roughly one-third of the companies raised growth funding within 6 months; and over the past 3 years, the companies combined have raised over $15m and created 140 new jobs.

Additional ScaleUp WNC program details, a list of  alumni, a participant interest form, and more can be found at Mountain BizWorks and Hatch will be announcing full details on the 2019 program in November .

# # #

About Mountain BizWorks

Mountain BizWorks has been developing small businesses and economic justice in Western North Carolina for nearly 30 years. Our primary platforms are lending and learning, specifically designed to grow small businesses and create economic opportunity for all. We proudly create access to capital for start-ups and existing businesses in spite of barriers to traditional lending sources. We support the entrepreneurial spirit by offering individualized coaching and training. Most importantly, we turn the dream of business ownership and success into a reality. Learn more about Mountain BizWorks at

About Hatch AVL Foundation

The Hatch AVL Foundation is a growing network of seasoned entrepreneurial advisors, a physical business incubator, and the host of innovative programming aimed at enabling WNC headquartered startups to have greater market impact, faster growth, and stronger financial positioning. Hatch starts in the pre-revenue space, closing the gap where the risk and uncertainty of investment is too high for other investor and mentor groups. Then continues its support for post-revenue startups, equipping them to deliver the inflection point of in-market sales growth. The Hatch mission offers proactive guidance and investment, especially within the 10-10-5 initiative, which targets growth of ten locally headquartered startups who are poised to reach $10 million revenue within five years (by 2022). Learn more about Hatch AVL Foundation at


Through the ECOSYSTEM program, NC IDEA aims to to identify and support partner organizations across the state doing inspired things to help entrepreneurs of high economic potential. The program fosters relationships, cooperation, dialog and learning between partners throughout the state, while better understanding how to collectively support more people in their ambition to start and grow the companies that will strengthen the economy of North Carolina. Learn more about NC IDEA

# # #

For all press inquires please contact: Rebekah Wallace, 828-424-8039,


Come to an Orientation Session to quickly find your path forward.

Our orientation sessions are a great way to get the lay of the land at Mountain BizWorks before you set off to create all that you dream!

Save your spot

Stop wondering what if, and just start. Our bet is you have what it takes.

Make it happen


See what Mountain BizWorks can do for you.

No matter your business type or experience level, we have resources to help you find your path to creating a business from your dream—and get better as you grow.

High-touch business courses
Customized business coaching
Get funding
Start investing


Stay connected to the local community of entreprenuers with Mountain BizWorks.

We use our newsletter to keep the community together on all things small business in the WNC region. Learn about events, classes, funding opportunities, and more!