Press Release: Mountain BizWorks Welcomes 15 Companies Poised for Growth into 12th ScaleUp WNC Cohort

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After a highly competitive round of applications, Mountain BizWorks is pleased to announce the 15 Western North Carolina-based companies selected for the 12th cohort of the ScaleUp program, which began with a kick-off event on March 28. The companies showcase the diversity of our region’s economy, including businesses from fitness, outdoor, food, and creative sectors.

Each of these companies have demonstrated a compelling opportunity for growth and economic impact. Through ScaleUp, the companies will receive intensive growth-management training, connect with experienced mentors, and receive access-to-capital support.

These companies will join more than 125 alumni businesses that have graduated from ScaleUp since its launch in 2015. To date, the program has had a diverse group of participants, spanning a multitude of industries and hailing from all corners of WNC. This year’s cohort is no exception, as two-thirds of the companies are women-owned, one-third are owned by entrepreneurs of color, and one-third are owned by rural entrepreneurs. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome this dynamic and diverse cohort of entrepreneurs. They’re a great reflection of ingenuity within Western North Carolina,” shared Matt Raker, Executive Director of Mountain BizWorks. “ScaleUp will allow each to develop their own unique strategies for growth, which will ultimately lead to a larger economic impact for our region.”

The following 15 companies will be actively building their growth plans over the next three months:

All Bodies Movement (Buncombe) helps folks in any body develop sustainable and accessible movement practices that help them feel better in their bodies so they can do the things that make them happy.

Aluminati Guitar Company (Buncombe) perfectly combines forward-thinking green technology and classic design to bring musicians unparalleled tone & playability. Their instruments are hand-built by the Aluminati team of skilled luthiers here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.

Asheville Adventure Company (Buncombe) is a market leader in a variety of different categories in the outdoor industry in Asheville with ownership in several different businesses including Cultivate Climbing and The Asheville Outpost. Asheville Adventure Company specializes in giving people from all different backgrounds the tools and inspiration to get outside in the beautiful southeast.

Boondock Van Company (Buncombe) is a camper van conversion company. At BVC, they take ordinary cargo vans and transform them to custom adventure vans. They craft each van with premium finishes to ensure superior quality. The vans are tailored to suit the unique lifestyle and preferences of our clients. Boondock Van Company’s goal is to get you off the grid and on to life.

Cara Mae Skin Care (Buncombe) makes Potters’ Skin Butter to help ceramic artists and people with hard-working hands do what they love. Their small batch lotion and pottery enrich people’s lives. Cara’s ceramics studio is located at Second Story Potters in Asheville.

Dirtcraft Living Soils (Madison) is the Southeast’s craft soil blender. Their performance potting mixes are biologically active, peat-free and organic approved. Dirtcraft Living Soils takes the guesswork out of growing healthy plants for organic farmers and gardeners.

Eda Rhyne Distilling Company (Buncombe) produces small batch, world class spirits that showcase the biodiversity and cultural heritage of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

The Educational Garden Project (Buncombe) provides a wholesome outdoor garden camp for school aged children using cooking, gardening, and animals as our curriculum. They believe kids grow best outside!

Evolve Early Learning (Buncombe) is a hub for early learning and caregiver support. The company partners with children, families, and teachers to grow a community of happy, healthy, life-ready kids. Their heart-centered, play-based approach supports all children to thrive.

The Farm Connection (Madison) is a family-owned edible, medicinal, and native plant nursery and garden center in Marshall, NC, specializing in organically grown, unique, hard-to-find, and useful plants.

J & M Farms at Freeman Orchards (Henderson) is a 70-year-old, multi-generational farm located in Hendersonville, North Carolina. They farm 120 acres of apple orchards with over 50 different kinds of new and heirloom apple varieties along with a roadside market and cold storage facility.

Little Guatemala (Burke) gives you a taste of what Guatemala is all about, right here in the foothills of western North Carolina. Experience it in person at their restaurant, coffee shop, indoor/outdoor soccer fields, and park, or take it home with you in our freshly roasted coffee beans, carefully crafted chocolate, and stunning crafts.

M.S.Lean LLC (Buncombe) is a Black-owned, insured landscaping service company. Their goal is to provide the best customer service in landscaping for residential and commercial property needs.

Online Training Concepts (Buncombe) develops elegant solutions for every aspect of the training development process, from high quality content designed with adult learning in mind to web ecosystems that deliver intuitive and seamless user experiences.

Otterpine (Buncombe) is an independent author support agency that specializes in creating gorgeous print books with impeccable words, beautiful aesthetics, and lasting quality.

This year’s program is offered with support from the Minority Business Development Agency’s Capital Readiness Program, as well as local support from First Horizon, McGuire Wood & Bissette Law Firm and Viking Mergers & Acquisitions.

More details on the ScaleUp program – including signing up for updates on future cohorts – can be found at here.



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