WNC Investment Framer Cohort

Participants in the WNC Investment Framer Cohort will increase their knowledge and connections to activate investment-worthy projects related to small business, social enterprise, community facilities, and downtown real estate development.

Mountain BizWorks is launching the WNC Investment Framer Cohort this summer! The Cohort will participate in a 12-week learning series from August 14 – October 30, 2023. 

Participants in the WNC Investment Framer Cohort will increase their knowledge and connections to activate investment-worthy projects related to small business, social enterprise, community facilities, and downtown real estate development. These investment framers will help increase investment across WNC and bring value to the communities where they work. 

Click the question below for FAQ answers, or click here to watch the recorded Q&A session.

What is the WNC Investment Framer Cohort?


The goals of this cohort are to:


  1. Build a more diverse network of investment framers with the skills to prepare and bring investment-ready projects to regional financial intermediaries.
  2. Increase knowledge, skills and abilities for these investment framers.
  3. Increase connections between investment framers and the ecosystem partners, especially capital providers.
  4. Create clearer pathways to move projects from the idea stage to structured investment.
  5. Increase the efficacy of regional financial intermediaries by building a stronger pipeline of high-capacity partners to help develop projects and surface deals.
  6. Create a more equitable and inclusive investment system in Central Appalachia.
Why is the WNC Investment Framer Cohort important?

In order to increase investment in Central Appalachia–and in WNC in particular, we need to build a stronger pipeline of people working across the region who have the skills, tools, and connections needed to ‘frame up’ investment opportunities. Too often, good ideas in communities do not move forward because our region has a limited number of people who hold the skills to develop robust financial or business models and identify the right mix of capital resources needed to bring the ideas forward for investment.

Who should apply to be part of the Cohort?
  • People working or consulting for grassroots and established community development organizations; local and regional economic development organizations; city, town or county local officials; and entrepreneurial support professionals (Small Business Center Directors for example). 
  • People who regularly see opportunities in communities because they are doing community organizing, working with small businesses, engaged in community planning processes, or otherwise work to identify and address community issues.
  • People with an existing or newly identified project that would benefit from investment framing. (While you do not need an identified project to apply, you will be asked to advance a specific opportunity throughout the cohort process.)
How do I apply?

The due date to submit applications is July 24, 2023.

For more information about the program and application process, join our Q&A Webinar on July 10. Click here to register. 

Important note about the online application: 

  • There is no way to save your writing on the online application. Draft your responses in a separate document, and then copy/paste them into the online application when you are ready to submit.
What is the cost to participate?

Accepted participants will join the Cohort at no cost thanks to support from Dogwood Health Trust and other generous funders. The scholarship represents approximately a $1,000 value.

Cohort members will be responsible for their own travel. There will be three in-person meetings in a central WNC location throughout the 12 weeks. The other nine meetings will be virtual.

What will participants get out of the Cohort?

The person who actively engages in the Cohort, develops and pitches a project/concept and engages experts and resources provided in this program, should be able to:


  • Recognize potential investment opportunities and articulate key considerations
  • Describe types of capital needed and the risk/return for potential investment
  • Understand common financial documents and calculations required for due diligence
  • Match the right capital to the project at the right stage of development
  • Identify needed expertise and know where to access it or who to contact
  • Explain the process and steps of investment to others in their community
  • Navigate the investment system and see pathways via relevant connections
  • Tell a story about a project’s impact that is compelling and solicits interest

Through this training series, we hope to create more inclusive and equitable pathways to grow wealth in communities. Differently abled, gender non-conforming and/or Queer participants, participants from grassroots organizations, geographically isolated communities, low-wealth households, People of Color, and others who are typically underrepresented in leadership development opportunities of this nature are encouraged to apply.

What will happen during the Cohort learning series?

People participating in the WNC Investment Framer Cohort will take part in a 12-week learning series, held weekly on Mondays from 12:30-2:30 starting August 14, 2023. If you choose to apply, please hold those dates/times.

Participants will: 

  • Participate in 2-hour weekly virtual learning sessions featuring practical content delivered by regional and national experts, with 3 in-person sessions. 
  • Engage in individual and group learning activities designed for skill building; process weekly homework assignments (2-3 hours/week)
  • Move a specific project/concept forward by applying the information learned from speakers, trainers, and other resources to their initiatives – and present their project to the cohort at the end of the Cohort series.
  • Participate in peer networking and peer learning opportunities (there will be a strong focus on expanding networks for members of the cohort)
  • Gain access to coaching support from trainers and speakers as well as mini-grants to support related projects 


If accepted into the cohort, participants will be expected to:

  • Attend the weekly 2-hour series events. 
  • Bring or develop a concept for a project (real estate or small business development) to apply the learning series knowledge to as well as present on at the end of the series.
  • Complete program evaluations.


Application Launches 6/30

Apply Now

Q&A Webinar

Watch Recording

Application Closes 7/24

Applicants Notified of Acceptance 8/1

Cohort Begins 8/14

Cohort Ends 10/30

Ready to Apply?

Application now available.

Questions? Contact Christine Laucher at christine@mountainbizworks.org.