Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer will sign a proclamation today declaring the week of Labor Day in September as Asheville Entrepreneurship Week. The week, now in its second year, is designed to be a celebration of Asheville’s startups, innovative businesses, and entrepreneurs across a wide swath of industries who together compose the region’s growing entrepreneurial economy.
“Entrepreneurship is tangible in this city, and the vibrancy and diversity of ventures deserves to be celebrated,” said Jeffrey Kaplan, director of entrepreneurship for Venture Asheville. “When we talk about entrepreneurship, we don’t just mean someone tinkering away on an app.”
The community is much more robust than that, said Kaplan, and if the vision is fulfilled to plan, Asheville Entrepreneurship Week will identify and uplift entrepreneurs across the entire ecosystem each and every year.
“This week is a great chance to lay out the ecosystem and show our community a roadmap to entrepreneurial success,” said Kaplan.
Building on Success in 2017
“The HatchAVL Foundation has been instrumental in spearheading Asheville Entrepreneurship Week, launching it last year,” said Kaplan. The foundation also hosted many of the events in 2017 and is sponsoring a trolley tour of the many coworking facilities in and around Asheville to help introduce entrepreneurs and community members to coworking and to build relationships with one another.
“It’s been so generous of the Hatch AVL Foundation to sponsor so many organizations and events throughout the year,” said Kaplan, “All with the goal of implementing their vision to elevate Asheville’s entire entrepreneurial community.”
Like last year’s inaugural Asheville Entrepreneurship Week, the celebration of the community and the schedule of events kicks off a whole series of events held in Asheville in the fall.
“The culture of Asheville is inherently entrepreneurial,” said Emily Breedlove, executive director of Hatch AVL. “We are a community of people who passionately support new ideas, collaboration, and the act of responsible creation.”
Aspiring and existing entrepreneurs across all industries are invited to participate in a week full of programming, said Breedlove, organized this year through many area partners. “The more chances that we have to foster greater economic opportunity and lasting prosperity for the small businesses of WNC, the more Asheville as a whole will thrive,” said Breedlove.
Chock Full of Events
Asheville Entrepreneurship Week kicks off with the Living Asheville Arts Festival on September 2, 2018. The free street festival celebrates the quirky artistic vibe of the city and its residents.
Throughout the week, The Collider will two provide free lunch-and-learn sessions and be open for entrepreneurs to check out the facility. “It’s an opportunity for those outside of the Asheville area to discover our city’s unique startup assets and resources,” said Leah Quintal, marketing manager at The Collider, which aims to educate, train, and develop the next generation of climate entrepreneurs.
Multiple opportunities to join the entrepreneurial community are built into the programming throughout the week, including an introduction to the startup scene led by Kaplan at Hatchworks Coworking on September 5, 2018.
“Entrepreneurship takes many forms, and Asheville is a great place for each of these visions,” said Kaplan. “Entrepreneurship is the most successful path for upward mobility for our entrepreneurial residents, the people their companies employ, and the communities that they create together.”
The week culminates with TEDxAsheville, which features informative talks centered on the theme of “Higher Ground,” on September 9, 2018.