The collaboration between Mountain BizWorks and IPDC is expanding access to vital ending and peer learning resources for area small businesses
(Cleveland County, NC): The Foothills Launch initiative, a partnership between Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC) and the regional small business development organization Mountain BizWorks, has announced that Cleveland County will be the home for a Mountain BizWorks pop-up office and a series of entrepreneur training and networking events during April and May.
Foothills Launch, which is supported by a grant from USDA Rural Development, is helping to address one of the most oft-cited barriers to small business success: access to startup and growth capital. In 2018, Mountain BizWorks made 164 loans to western North Carolina business and along with their peer-learning programs, helped 107 new businesses start and 202 existing ones expand. The partnership with IPDC is focused on bringing more of these services to the Isothermal region, comprised of Cleveland, McDowell, Polk, and Rutherford counties.
To help understand local entrepreneurial opportunities, the project will include a two-month residency in each of the four counties. The first one, held in downtown Rutherfordton concluded in March and has already resulted in Mountain BizWorks financing 10 new projects in the region totaling over $400,000. They also graduated the first Foundations Business Planning Course in Rutherford County, helping eight entrepreneurs develop or refine their business plan.
“We are excited to facilitate increased capital for entrepreneurs in the region by partnering with Mountain BizWorks who bring decades of experience working across Western North Carolina,” says Scott Dadson, Executive Director of IPDC, “We know that some of the main obstacles local entrepreneurs have are finding the capital and business guidance they need to flourish. We hope these funds and programs will help local entrepreneurs do just that.”
The next step for this project is to open a two month pop-up office in the certified entrepreneurial community of Cleveland County in the beginning of April 9th, 2019. This office which will be staffed two days a week and will provide lending and business education services in collaboration with the Cleveland County Community College, the City of Shelby, and other local partners. The first course to be offered in the County will be the Foundations Business Planning Course, taught by a local business owner, Madison Webber of J-Birds Deli starting on April 9th.
To learn more about Mountain BizWorks and all of the upcoming engagements in the Isothermal region visit: mountainbizworks.org/foothillslaunch