Matthew Raker

Matthew Raker, VP of Entrepreneurship
Vice President of Entrepreneurship

Matthew oversees our entrepreneurial programs, including the Advantage Opportunity Fund for seed-stage startups and the ScaleUp WNC program for high-growth entrepreneurs.

How to Contact:
Length of time with BRFV:
6 years

Education & Certifications

Matthew holds degrees in Economics and Natural Resources Management from University of North Carolina Asheville, located in the AdvantageWest region. He is also a graduate of the NC Rural Center's Rural Economic Development Institute.


Background & Experience

Matthew joined AdvantageWest in 2009 as Senior Director of AdvantageGreen & Grants Administration. Within two years he was promoted to his current position as Vice President of Entrepreneurship & AdvantageGreen, in which he works closely with regional partners to ensure Western North Carolina is home to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. This work includes managing the Advantage Opportunity Fund and ScaleUp WNC.

Building on his considerable work at the intersection of economy and environment, Matthew also heads the AdvantageGreen initiative to capitalize on the region's exceptional natural assets and opportunity to be a leader in sustainable industries. Regional collaboration and leadership efforts through AdvantageGreen have resulted in important new Western North Carolina economic assets including Blue Ridge Naturally, Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC, the Biofuels Lab at A-B Tech and Blue Ridge Tech Ventures.

Prior to joining AdvantageWest in 2009, Matthew was an entrepreneur himself, first starting an interactive marketing firm and then a web-software startup providing social network management and analytics.

Professional Memberships & Community Involvement

  • Member, International Economic Development Council

  • Member, Southern Economic and Development Council

  • Local Economy Fellow, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

  • Graduate, Social & Economic Challenges for Future Leaders professional development program of the US State Department

  • Awarded as a member of Biltmore Beacon's "40 Under Forty" in Buncombe County (2014)

  • Second Vice Chair, Western North Carolina Alliance

  • Member & Past-Chair, City of Asheville Sustainable Advisory Committee on Energy and Environment


Resident of:
Buncombe County