In 2015, Mountain BizWorks and our partners were selected as one of eight teams nationally to launch a new SBA ScaleUp America community. Today, there are 15 such communities across the country. ScaleUp WNC will provide intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to two cohorts of 15 small businesses annually through 2019.
In total, 150 Western North Carolina businesses with strong potential for growth and job creation will have the opportunity to participate in this highly competitive program. ScaleUp WNC will yield a diverse and distinguished group of entrepreneurs to drive innovation and economic development in the Mountain BizWorks 23-county region for many years.
MEET THE SCALEUP WNC COHORTS
COHORT 1 (SPRING 2015)
COHORT 2 (SUMMER 2015)
COHORT 3 (SPRING 2016)
COHORT 4 (SUMMER 2016)
COHORT 5 (SPRING 2017)
GROWTH-ORIENTED SMALL BUSINESSES ARE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY
Each class will be selected through a highly competitive, merit-based application process. Founders, owners, or executive managers of growth-oriented small businesses are eligible to apply. These businesses must:
- Be a for-profit company based in Western North Carolina
- Have been in business for at least two years
- Have annual revenues between $150,000 and $500,000
- Have at least one full-time employee (can include founder/owner positions)
- Have identified opportunities for business expansion
This stage of companies, after startup but before maturity, tends to be underserved in Western North Carolina (and nationally), so ScaleUp WNC offers a unique opportunity to help expand growth-oriented businesses and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the region.
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK?
ScaleUp WNC is a cohort-based program. Each participant will be part of a CEO network of roughly 15 peer business leaders and will receive tailored services to measurably advance their business and achieve significant business development milestones. Program elements will include, but not be limited, to:
- Entrepreneurship education curriculum: Delivery of a proven, established curricula for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and small businesses focused on the unique challenges of scaling established businesses. This intensive curriculum includes an opening dinner event, six class-based sessions (meeting every other week), and a culminating “demo day” showcase event.
- Management assistance and support: Ongoing one-on-one support, mentoring, and technical assistance from our team of business advisors and mentors with expertise including leadership, market research analysis, business strategy, technology development, and sales growth assistance. Realizing that businesses will have unique needs, each ScaleUp WNC participant will have up to a $1,000 budget for specialized resources needed to advance their growth strategy (could include making prototypes, market focus groups, lean manufacturing analysis, etc.).
- Access to capital: Assistance and connections to growth capital, including preparing investor due-diligence backup documentation, matchmaking events, and introductions with local lenders and investors.
- Connections and networks: Strengthening connections and networks, including developing valuable relationships with peer entrepreneurs, support resources, mentors, potential supply chain partners, etc.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Thanks to a generous contract awarded to Mountain BizWorks and our partners from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), there is no cost to participate in ScaleUp WNC; however, all businesses selected for this highly competitive opportunity must make a firm commitment of time to participate in the program.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
Mountain BizWorks is the fiscal and administrative lead for the project with implementation support from the A-B Tech Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, Sequoyah Fund, Ascent Business Network, Small Town Ventures, and numerous other regional partners.
INTERESTED IN BEING PART OF OUR MENTOR NETWORK?
If you are interested in joining our community of mentors for ScaleUp WNC businesses, please fill out this quick (two questions + contact info) interest form, and we’ll add you to our growing network of mentors working to scale small businesses in WNC.