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Venture Asheville Raises $25,000 to Launch 5 Startups with Asheville Impact Micro Grant Fund

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Venture Asheville, the entrepreneurship initiative of the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, announced that $25,000 has been raised in support of the Asheville Impact Micro Grant. Now in its second year, the Asheville Impact Micro Grant will help launch five new startups by seeding each of them with a $5,000 grant.

“In our new economic and public health reality, the Asheville Impact Micro Grant program has new significance this year,” says Jeffrey Kaplan, Director of Venture Asheville. “Entrepreneurs will lead us through our economic recovery. These micro grants provide startups with crucial grants to fuel their launch.”

Fifty individuals, the HCA Healthcare Mission Fund, the First Horizon Bank Foundation and the NC Biotechnology Center donated to the initiative. The newly formed HCA Healthcare Mission Fund contributed $10,000, $5,000 came from the First Horizon Bank Foundation, and $3,000 came from the NC Biotechnology Center.

“We found ourselves with only $7,000 when the health crisis hit and had to find partners to help us raise the rest of the funding,” said Michael Meguiar, board chair of the Economic Development Coalition. “We are thrilled to have these more established corporations leading by example and supporting a new generation of startups here in Asheville.”

The Asheville Impact Micro Grant is dedicated to supporting new businesses with high-growth potential. To be eligible, applicants must have less than $50,000 in revenue or funding, be located in Haywood or Buncombe County, and be prepared to show how $5,000 can have a multiplying effect on their business.

“They need to show us how they’ll turn $5,000 into $15,000 or $50,000. That’s the impact we are looking to see,” said Kaplan of the selection criteria.

New to this year’s competition is the HCA Healthcare Mission Fund Winner, which will go to a startup in the health and wellness industry. Startups in this industry are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications for startups to apply for these $5,000 grants are now open through May 17th. At that point, a selection committee will narrow the field to 10 finalists, and five winners will be chosen.

Full details on eligibility, applications and selection are found at www.ventureasheville.com/microgrant.

Venture Asheville is the high-growth entrepreneurship initiative of the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at www.ventureasheville.com

The EDC for Asheville-Buncombe County is a public-private partnership committed to creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions.  The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment.  The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the AVL 5×5 Campaign.

For more than 120 years, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has been the catalyst for economic vitality in our community. The Asheville Chamber connects 1,700 member organizations, both large and small, representing more than 80,000 employees, to valuable resources such as economic development and research, business education, marketing opportunities and advocacy. Asheville Chamber initiatives have stimulated economic development, influenced public policy and supported the growth of thousands of local and regional businesses. Learn more at www.ashevillechamber.org.