ASHEVILLE – For hundreds of years, few symbols evoked the kind of community-wide optimism than that of a barn raising. Serving as a testament to the value and tradition of growth, a raising would rally together locals to collectively erect the frames of a new barn, often over a communal celebration.

Transitioning from the hammer and nail to the digital age of today, the evolution of community building is watching a new symbol of barn raising emerge: Investment Crowdfunding.

In 2016, the state of North Carolina passed legislation (called NC PACES) making it possible to take on non-accredited investors for small businesses, through crowdfunding. This new capital framework now allows entrepreneurs to raise money from friends, family, and their broader community by offering a stake in (and a return on) the success that they are helping to build.

In essence, this new funding model is offering ropes for all community members who are ready to roll up their sleeves, grab a line, and build something better, together – through small, vetted investments in locally owned companies.

Following in that vision, Mountain BizWorks, in partnership with NCIDEA and HatchAVL Foundation, is hosting the inaugural Mountain Raise: Live Offering Event on Nov. 20 at Highland Brewing Company. By showcasing the graduates of the 2019 ScaleUp program from Mountain BizWorks, including several that have also participated in the Invested Crowdfunding course, Mountain Raise will present an innovative take on pitch events where everyone in the room can become an investor.

Companies to be showcased

Active Strategies
Archetype Brewing
Asheville Tea Company
Boomerang Communications
Climbmax Climbing
Deal Farms Fresh Produce
Dig Local Asheville
Foothills Local Meats
Global Language System LLC
Gold Star Honeybees
Kudzu Brands
Little Sprout Carryout
Living Sabai
Luxury Therapeutics
One Click Fix, Inc.
The Peoples Clubs
Qualla Java Cafe
Sanctuary Brewing Company
Shanti Elixirs
Smallcakes: A Cupcakery & Creamery-Asheville
Sora Surya No
Terrane Glass Designs
The Blind Pig
The Bright Angle
Urban3, LLC
WNC Repairs

Zen Skincare and Waxing Studio

“Investment Crowdfunding has opened up a whole new kind of opportunity for local capital, which not only helps our small businesses access needed funding, but also creates new connections and ways for area individuals to share in the growth of their local economy,” noted Chris Grasinger, Mountain BizWorks facilitator for the ScaleUp and Invested programs.

In 2018, Mountain BizWorks piloted the Invested Crowdfunding course in response to growing interest from the regional entrepreneurial network. At the first Live Offering event in September 2018, one of the graduates from that inaugural class, 180 Float Spa, raised over $15,000 and became the first-ever to complete an investment crowdfunding campaign in North Carolina. Now with several more offerings in the pipeline, and many of them ScaleUp alumni, the connection between the two initiatives has created a higher caliber network of presenting businesses.

“After completing two highly successful cohorts of ScaleUp this year, we have 28 local companies who are poised for rapid growth. What’s so ideal about integrating a live offering element into the showcase is that we can also help grow the WNC network of emerging investors. Investment Crowdfunding is a new model for economic opportunity that empowers the entire community to get involved,” explained Matt Raker, Assistant Executive Director at Mountain BizWorks.

At Mountain Raise, attendees will have the chance to connect with all of the 2019 ScaleUp Graduates who will be demoing products at an onsite showcase. In addition, Live Offerings will be presented from the stage, where the audience will be given the opportunity to hear terms, review growth opportunities, and personally consider investment in the WNC companies.

Tickets are limited, with details about the event and all of the presenting companies at