Fast growing startups ranked in Venture 15 plus entrepreneurial champions honored with Venture Asheville Honors

Pres release from Asheville Chamber:

Asheville, NC — Fifteen local startups were honored as the fastest growing Asheville-area headquartered startups at the Venture 15 and Venture Asheville Honors celebration on Thursday, Dec. 16. Awards were also given to six people and organizations that make Asheville a place for startups to thrive.

In 2021, the 15 fastest growing startups in Asheville had a combined lifetime revenue of $182,000,000, 73% were cofounded and 46% were female founded. This year saw more industry parity with three coming from tech, three from health, three from outdoor recreation and gear, two from makers and four from food and beverage. Together, these top-ranking start-ups represented 367 high-wage jobs in Buncombe County. Thirty percent of those jobs were created in the last 12 months.

The Venture 15 and Venture Asheville Honors celebration is produced by Venture Asheville, the high growth startup initiative of the Economic Development Coalition of Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC) and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“These awards honor and celebrate our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and the people who make it great,” said Jeffrey Kaplan, Director of Venture Asheville.

Now in its fourth year, the Venture 15 Awards have become an annual celebration of the economic impact of entrepreneurship in the Asheville Metro Region, and the program recently won a Gold Rank from International Economic Development Council (IEDC) in the category of Innovation Programs and Initiatives. Metrics including annual revenues, compounded growth rates, new jobs, diversity and cofounder demographics identify long-term growth trends as well as emerging needs in the entrepreneurship ecosystem that inform the strategies of the EDC’s AVL 5×5 Strategic Plan.

Venture 15

The Venture 15 recognizes the area’s outstanding entrepreneurs, and serves as an elite setting where they can share their talent and wisdom as well as offer inspiration to other companies to be part of this exclusive group. Venture 15 companies must have been in business for at least two years with a verifiable annual revenue of $150,000 or more for the past two full fiscal years and founders or company owners must operate businesses in Buncombe or Haywood County. To identify the 15 fastest growing Asheville-Area companies, applying companies are ranked by compounded annual growth rate (CAGR). Companies provide baseline financial information about their organization via tax returns, or certified CPA reviewed statements, that will enable calculation of its CAGR. This is a valuable measurement to view a venture’s growth rate over time, and allows the awards committee to use one metric to compare all ventures. To ensure and maintain confidentiality, all financial documents are submitted to and maintained by an independent accounting partner and Presenting Sponsor, Johnson Price Sprinkle PA.

Venture Asheville Honors

In addition to honoring the 15 fastest growing ventures in our area, Venture Asheville Honors were awarded to:

·        Mentor of the Year: John Canter

·        Investor of the Year: Jesse Fripp, Shining Rock Ventures

·        Entrepreneur of the Year , Benjamin Colvin, Devil’s Foot Beverage

·        Resource of the Year: Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation

·        Shining Rock Award (to honor a tenacious and resilient entrepreneur in the community): Gwendolyn Dare Hageman, Darë Vegan Cheese

·        Best startup to work for: Everyday Oil

About Venture Asheville

Venture Asheville is the high-growth entrepreneurship initiative of the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC) and the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce. Venture Asheville grows Asheville’s startup community and connects high-growth entrepreneurs to talent, mentors and investors through unique programming and events. For more on Venture Asheville, visit

About the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County

The Economic Development Coalition (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, Riverbird 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. Visit

About Asheville Chamber of Commerce

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 more than 1,550 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

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