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Big Opportunities for Small Businesses

Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Food Ventures.

Western North Carolina is rich in resources, ranging from colleges of business, to technology incubators and business training programs, that help entrepreneurs and small businesses grow into successful biotech companies. Mission Health Systems, based in Asheville, is the state’s sixth largest health system and the tertiary care regional referral center for Western North Carolina. Fermentation is one of the oldest forms of biotechnology and for three years running a national poll awarded Asheville the title “Brew City USA.” You will find a number of collaborative opportunities for small business owners and entrepreneurs in western North Carolina. Whether you choose to launch a medical device venture, microbrewery or laboratory supply business, consider Western North Carolina as your home.

Business advice and resources, loans

No matter the size of your life science business, NCBiotech has resources to help you. For example, our loan programs can help get small businesses off the ground and running. And we have resources to help transfer university research to the marketplace. Learn more about our business opportunities.

Appalachian State University

Educational resources

Whether you are a middle school science teacher or university professor, NCBiotech offers a number of educational resources that can take your classroom to the next level. We also have grant programs for teachers who need scientific equipment or supplies to enhance the classroom, and grants for undergraduates for project funding and mentoring. Learn more about our educational opportunities.

Research Funding

Valuable research is performed at top universities and college in the western region but this research needs funding. The Biotechnology Center has numerous funding opportunities in-house as well as connections and information to outside funding opportunities.  Learn more about our research grants.

Photo courtesy of ABTech

Small Business Centers, Incubators and Tech Labs

  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. The Small Business Center and incubator is part of the statewide Small Business Center Network, a community college-funded initiative with a vision to foster and support entrepreneurship, small business and economic development in local communities across the state. Learn More

  • Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State University. The Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship is helping current Appalachian State students and alumni starting successful businesses,  to enable them to enhance their future prospects and to enhance the region's economic situation. In 2011, the Center was named the Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship, after a $1 million gift by Transportation Insight, a company recognized nationally by Inc. Magazine for its entrepreneurial excellence. Learn More

  • Smoky Mountain Small Business and Industry Center. Smoky Mountain Development Corporation owns a business incubator facility which opened in 1985 with 17,000 square feet of available rental space. The facility provides new and expanding small businesses with attractive costs and shared services. Learn More

  • Venture Asheville Business Accelerator. Venture Asheville, a program of the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County, is developing a business accelerator in downtown Asheville. Learn More

  • NC Center for Engineering Technologies. A regional asset operated by Appalachian State University in collaboration with other higher education partners and private industry. Seven labs with state-of-the-art equipment are located in the facility in Hickory. Learn More

  • The Center for Rapid Product Realization. An EDA University Center on the campus of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee. These centers are funded by an annual grant from the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and matching funds from state and private sources.The labs contain sophisticated equipment for work on 3-D imaging and solid model generation, re-engineering and product design, automation, rapid prototyping in polymers, Computer Numeric Control and laser machining, component integration and product testing. Learn More

Economic Development

  • Photo courtesy of AdvantageWest

    AdvantageWest. This is the regional economic development partnership serving the 23 western counties of North Carolina. Major initiatives include the Certified Entrepreneurial Community program across the region and the Advantage Opportunity Fund. Learn More

  • The BioNetwork BioBusiness Center. This facility supports the growth of the natural products and life science industries in North Carolina working with partners in economic development, industry and the community college system to provide support. Learn More

  • The Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC). BREC is a nurturing organization for entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina, creating homegrown jobs and growing the region's economy. Learn More

  • Inception Micro Angel Fund. Western is part of the Inception Micro Angel Fund Family of Funds, which is a group of committed, member-managed seed stage angel capital funds designed to capitalize on the growth in entrepreneurial activity and venture financing throughout the state of North Carolina. Learn More

  • Mountain BizWorks. It provides loans, classes and coaching to emerging and established small businesses in western North Carolina. Learn More

  • The Center for Rapid Product Realization (the Rapid Center) in the Kimmel School at Western Carolina University is a product development center that helps clients refine existing products, develop new ones and improve business practices. Learn More

  • The Asheville SCORE team of successful executives provides free business consulting services to entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals that want to start a company or expand an existing business anywhere in Western North Carolina. Learn More

  • Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). With offices in Asheville, Boone and Cullowhee, the SBTDC has the numbers to prove what a valuable resource it is to small businesses. Learn More

  • The Self-Help Credit Union reaches out particularly to female, low-income, low-wealth, rural and minority communities across North Carolina. Learn More

  • SBA Asheville is the Small Business Administration’s North Carolina District regional office located in Asheville. SBA provides capital access and assistance programs. Learn More