The Biz

Speed-Networking For Creative Pros This Thursday, Feb. 12: Asheville HATCHfest, a multidisciplinary arts festival that will come to the city in April, will host an event Thursday, Feb. 12, that’s geared toward both raising funds for the festival and connecting creative professionals—on the quick. “Speed Networking for Creative Professionals” takes place at Mobilia (43 Haywood St.) starting at 7 p.m.

“The event is meant to provide an opportunity for people in creative industries to meet each other,” the invitation reads, noting that “this is about making a creative or business connection—not a love connection.” Here’s the drill: Participants will invest two hours (and $25) for pizza and beer from Asheville Pizza and Brewing, along with the chance to have five-minute chats with 20 other participants. It’s a quick and not-so-dirty way to get to know a like-minded person and perhaps even advance your business’ network. For details, and to purchase a ticket, visit www.hatchasheville.com.

Asheville Affiliates Looking To Help Nonprofits: The Asheville Affiliates, a group of more than 3,000 young professionals in Western North Carolina, is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations looking for fundraising help. The deadline to apply is Feb. 20, and all local nonprofits are encouraged to apply.

This year the group will help three to five groups plan all aspects of a fundraising event—a “party with a purpose.” The events are held in downtown Asheville and are open to the public.

“Last year, we helped our nonprofit partners raise nearly $15,000,” says Jonathan Frappier, Asheville Affiliates’ board president.

Applications are available at www.affiliatesofasheville.com.

Volunteers Score Big: The Asheville chapter of SCORE (the Service Corps of Retired Executives) wants to help local business people connect and prosper through volunteering.

“Is there a ‘magic bullet’ somewhere in your life?” the group asks in a news release. “We submit that there is, and it exists in the form of volunteerism.” SCORE lists the sometimes-unexpected benefits of volunteering: becoming part of a network of like-minded people, gaining friendships, enhancing feelings of self-worth and strengthening the community. What’s more, the group notes, “business owners who volunteer often find that their businesses flourish as a result of the potent power of networking.”

SCORE is soliciting volunteers to help it coach and mentor more than 1,000 local businesses each year. The group will hold a new-member information session from on Friday, Feb. 20, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Room 266 of the Federal Building in downtown Asheville.

For more information, contact either Dick Kennedy (279-6699) or Dane Barrager (248-514-4978).

Mountain Bizworks To Host Entrepreneurship Training: Mountain BizWorks, which offers loans and classes to help new businesses get off the ground, is adding an enhanced business-training service to its lineup. The Asheville-based organization will host the FastTrac entrepreneurship course, “designed for ambitious and large-scale business ideas.”

The nine-week course will be taught by experienced entrepreneurs and business developers, according to the group’s press release. “In addition, guest entrepreneurs and local business experts will share their experiences and knowledge with the class. Participants also will network with other aspiring entrepreneurs and work on their plans to launch their new ventures.”

The first FastTrac course will run on from 6 to 9 p.m. on 10 consecutive Thursdays (with a break in the fifth week), starting March 19. The classes will be held at the organization’s offices (153 S. Lexington Ave.); the $525 fee covers the instructional manual, 27 hours of instruction, weekly one-on-one coaching, a three-month subscription to Hill Research, dinner during each class session, and a three-month limited Mountain BizWorks membership.

To register, call 253-2834, ext. 17, by Thursday, March 5.

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About Jon Elliston
An Asheville-based mountain journalist: Former Mountain Xpress managing editor. Investigations and open government editor at Carolina Public Press. Senior contributing editor at WNC magazine.

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