AdvantageWest & U.S. Small Business Administration Press Event

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

MEDIA ADVISORY:  AdvantageWest and U.S. Small Business Administration Announce Initiative To Help WNC Businesses “Scale Up”

WHAT: Press event in which representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration will announce SBA’s selection of AdvantageWest Economic Development Group and partners as the recipient of a 5-year, $1.2 million contract to launch ScaleUp WNC.

AdvantageWest and our partners are one of only eight entities nationally to be selected for this initiative, which will provide intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to 150 high-growth entrepreneurs in the AdvantageWest 23-county region.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 18, 10-11am *** It is requested that media arrive no later than 9:50am. The program will start promptly at 10am and last about 30 minutes, with time afterward for Q&A, photos and individual interviews. Be aware that construction in the area could cause travel delays***

WHERE: AdvantageWest, located at 134 Wright Brothers Way, Fletcher, adjacent to the Asheville Regional Airport.

WHO: In addition to AdvantageWest staff and board, attending will be representatives of ScaleUp WNC project partners A-B Tech Entrepreneurial Development Foundation, The Sequoyah Fund, and Ascent Business Network.

Providing remarks will be Mike Arriola, Deputy District Director of the North Carolina District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (NC office is based in Charlotte) and AdvantageWest Board Chair Tom Alexander.

WHY: Companies targeted by ScaleUp WNC – those that are past the startup phase but before maturity - tend to be underserved in Western North Carolina (and nationally). ScaleUp WNC offers a unique opportunity to help expand growth-oriented businesses and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the region.

Using prior metrics as well as those from similar programs in other regions, this project aims to result in 600 new jobs created and $18 million in new capital raised by WNC small businesses within three years of project completion.

Through ScaleUp WNC, AdvantageWest and our partners will provide intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to two classes of 15 small businesses annually. 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.

Each class of entrepreneurs will be selected through a competitive, merit-based application process. Businesses must:

  • Be based in Western North Carolina
  • Have annual revenues between $150,000 and $500,000
  • Have at least one full-time employee
  • Have identified opportunities for business expansion.

AdvantageWest is an economic development organization serving the 23 westernmost counties of North Carolina, an area of about 10,000 square miles, or about the size of the state of Maryland. Among its job creation initiatives is entrepreneurial funding and development. Originally established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1994, AdvantageWest is now an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


  • November 17: Application period for the first cohort begins
  • November 18, 10-11am: Formal announcement at press event with SBA
  • December  2014: Information sessions for entrepreneurs held in four locations in the AdvantageWest region: High Country, Foothills, Southwest and Central sub-regions (dates TBA – media will be invited to attend).
  • January 15, 2015: Deadline for applications
  • February 2015: First cohort participants announced (15 in total)
  • Spring 2015: First cohort 8-week training; application period opens for second cohort
  • Summer/Fall 2015: Second cohort 8-week training
  • Training to continue each year; two sessions per year, 15 participants each session.

Read the original SBA press release about this project HERE:

CONTACT: For more information, photos, interviews, etc., contact Kathi Petersen – 828-712-1286 –