Asheville nearly tops Popular Mechanics’ entrepreneurial cities roundup

Still frame from Explore Asheville's 2015 promotional video

Asheville is “a BYOJ city,” meaning “bring your own job,” according to Asheville Brewing Co. president Mike Rangel, who was quoted in a recent post by Popular Mechanics. The article, published Tuesday, Jan. 13, named Asheville the second best start-up city in America behind St. Louis, Mo., in a roundup of “the next wave of cities building an ecosystem to turn innovators into entrepreneurs … no disrespect to San Fransisco or Brooklyn.”

The robust craft beer industry received a nod, along with business accelerators Venture Asheville and Accelerating Appalachia — two of many organizations working to provide early stage business guidance and pair entrepreneurs with investors.

“We launched Accelerating Appalachia due to the abundance of nature-based businesses in the region, the love for local business and because we, too, were building our own jobs,” says Accelerating Appalachia founder Sara Day Evans, naming organizations like Asheville Grown Business Alliance, Mountain BizWorks, Small Business Technology Development Center, Blue Ridge Food Ventures and Venture Asheville as business supporters. “Asheville has always been gritty, and it takes grit to be an entrepreneur.”

Popular Mechanics noted the quality of life in Asheville as well, crediting art galleries, scenic locale, restaurants and the “whiffs of pine (and weed)” as contributing factors to the city’s ability to retain growing numbers of highly trained and motivated innovators.

“Asheville’s status as a sweet college town and haven for neo-hippies isn’t fading,” reads the entrepreneurial roundup. “It’s just changing to reflect the influx of people who see no harm in making a little money.”

Read the full Popular Mechanics article here. Here’s an excerpt:

“Mike Rangel, a pioneer of the craft-brewing industry in Asheville, North Carolina, says it’s a BYOJ city, as in “bring your own job.” People may move here for college or because it’s naturally beautiful and reasonably inexpensive. But they stay for the chance to make a living exactly how they want to.”



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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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