In November, Noble Cider closed on a $40,000 loan from AdvantageWest. Some of Asheville's flagship start-ups have benefited from the same loan program, including Buchi Kombucha, Smart Foods Bakery and CoCoChi, the makers of SkinFood.
In total, the Advantage Opportunity fund has supported 21 small businesses since 2007. According to Matthew Raker of AdvantageWest, an economic development group that works throughout WNC, the loan process is somewhat intensive and includes a substantial business plan review. AdvantageWest usually caps loans at $35,000, but Noble was able to make a case for extra funds.
“I think it's a great opportunity,” Raker says. “Look at the success of microbreweries here in the region.” Additionally, Raker adds, local apple farms will supply Noble. Since Henderson County is the seventh largest apple producing county in the nation, he thinks Noble is a good fit with that existing industry.