regional investment


Opportunity Appalachia in WNC

The Opportunity Appalachia program provides targeted support for downtown and rural development to build entrepreneurial communities where local business can thrive, creating quality jobs for residents, and revitalizing local economies.

Mountain BizWorks is pleased to be the the WNC lead partner in Opportunity Appalachia, a five-state endeavor designed to bring new investment into Central Appalachia. 

Opportunity Appalachia recently announced their 2024-25 selection of 29 projects – including 7 from North Carolina – to participate in its program aimed at increasing job growth, business support, and investment in Central Appalachia.

Opportunity Appalachia Selected Projects – North Carolina

  • Innovation Campus, The Industrial Commons, Morganton, NC – Creation of a business accelerator and workforce training center with specialized manufacturing courses to support a hub for innovation in the textile economy. Estimated costs total $51.6 M with creation of 60 high-quality permanent positions.

  • Oak Hill Commons, Pathways & Procurement, Asheville, NC – Construction of 28 new townhome units to serve as affordable housing for the Asheville community. The minority-owned project sponsor estimates costs to total $7.8 M and creation of 100 construction jobs.

  • Olive Dame Campbell Dining Hall and Folk School Visitor’s Center, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC – Creation of a new dining hall and expanded Visitor’s Center to strengthen the Folk School’s operations and connection to the community. Total costs estimated at $5 M with creation of 25 permanent jobs. 

  • Smith Mill Works Expansion, Smith Mill Works, Asheville, NC – Expansion of a community business park to facilitate growth of agricultural and other small businesses as well as development of a community center. Total costs to be determined and creation of 75 permanent jobs is estimated. 

  • The Balsam Mountain Inn, Balsam, NC – Restoration to feature 48 guest rooms, fine and casual full-service dining options, full bar, coffee shop, brewery, spa, and gift shop along with hiking trails across the property’s 21 acres. Total costs estimated at $16 M with creation of 100 permanent jobs.

  • The Old Glory Mill, Burke River Trail Association, Rhodhiss, NC – Transformation of 1907 former mill building into a mixed-use downtown center to include housing, restaurants/shops, river recreation access, town hall, event space, and more. Total costs estimated at $16 M and creation of 54 jobs.

  • West Marion Inc & Alphonso Hardy Technology Collaborative, West Marion Community Forum, Marion, NC – Former pre-integration school for the Black community to transform into an inclusive multi-racial community center housing local nonprofits and businesses, a community kitchen, health clinic, and technology center, supporting Marion’s BIPOC community. The minority-led project sponsor estimates costs to total $10 M with creation of 48 jobs.

For a full list of participating projects – which include manufacturing facilities, downtown development, tech business, agricultural facilities, hotels / housing, broadband deployment, and retail enterprises – please visit the overall program site here.

Have a Potential Project?

Fill out our interest form to to stay up to date on important program announcements.

Questions? Contact the Mountain BizWorks Opportunity Appalachia Project Manager, Christine Laucher, at

Mountain BizWorks is partnering with Appalachian Community Capital and other partners on Opportunity Appalachia, which is funded through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).  For more information on Opportunity Appalachia, please click here. 

Project Funders

A group of images showing Opportunity Appalachia, a program of Appalachian Community Capital, is supported by funding from Appalachian Regional Commission, US Treasury CDFI Fund, Truist, Dogwood Health Trust, US Bank, and M&T Bank.