Biz Briefs: Venture Asheville announces 2019 mentorship cohort

John Daves
PRINCIPAL OF INTEREST: John Daves will will become the new principal at Carolina Day School’s high school program as of July 1. Photo courtesy of Carolina Day School

Venture Asheville announces 2019 startup mentees

Sixteen Asheville-area startups will receive intensive personalized support from Venture Asheville as part of the entrepreneurship initiative’s Elevate program. Local business owners will be paired with successful company founders, executives and functional experts to help work through the challenges and opportunities of business growth.

The mentorship cohort represents a diverse array of business models, from nuptial planning service Asheville Wedding Collective to craft ginger beer maker Devil’s Foot Beverage and custom car-lighting installer Sparksmith. Each startup will receive one to two years of monthly mentoring sessions, professional development and investor pitch opportunities.

“The creative, entrepreneurial spirit can get squandered if it is not supported and encouraged. This is why an organization like Venture Asheville is so important — to support our local economy and to give inspired and motivated entrepreneurs the support and resources needed to pursue their dreams,” said new mentee Sara Stender, founder of the social enterprise 3 Mountains, which sells loose-leaf African tea under the Tima Tea label.

All 16 cohort members will be at Venture Asheville’s upcoming Demo Day on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 4 p.m. at The Collider. Tickets are available through The Collider.

Jan. 15 Chamber luncheon to provide legislative outlook

The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce will host lawmakers and business leaders for a meeting at the Omni Grove Park Inn on Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 11:30 a.m. The chamber will present its top local, state and federal legislative priorities for 2019, and Vice President of Public Policy Corey Atkins has confirmed that at least seven area legislators will be on hand for a panel discussion.

Jonathan Kappler, executive director of the N.C. Free Enterprise Foundation, will deliver the luncheon’s keynote address to discuss the past election and current politics in Raleigh. Tickets to the event are $55 for chamber members and $65 for the general public (

Movers and shakers

  • John Daves will become the new principal at Carolina Day School’s high school program as of Monday, July 1. With a teaching background in English literature and American studies, Daves will come to Carolina Day from The Pennington School in Pennington, N.J. He will succeed current principal Peggy Daniels, who will retire after five years in the school’s top post.
  • Lori Longcoy became the branch manager of United Federal Credit Union’s Fletcher Branch at 3674 Hendersonville Road. Longcoy earned her bachelor’s degree from UNC Asheville and was most recently branch manager at Premier Federal Credit Union.
  • EXIT Realty Vistas, an independently owned and operated brokerage located in Arden, added three new members to its sales team: Karen Grooms, Greg Szabo and Robert Pugh.
  • Steve Owen & Associates, which has operated as an independent real estate company in Transylvania County since 1999, will merge with Beverly-Hanks & Associates, Realtors. In a press release, managing broker Jeremy Owen said the move would open new opportunities for those selling property in the area.
  • Asheville pottery maker East Fork was named a runner-up for Southern lifestyle magazine Garden & Gun’s Made in the South Awards. The publication lauded East Fork’s “museum-quality” nesting bowls for their “minimalist, organic beauty.”
  • Attorney Jake Farrar has joined The Van Winkle Law Firm’s business practice group. A graduate of UNC Asheville’s Leadership Asheville program, Farrar also regularly volunteers with local organizations such as Venture Asheville and Mountain BizWorks.

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About Daniel Walton
Daniel Walton is the former news editor of Mountain Xpress. His work has also appeared in Sierra, The Guardian, and Civil Eats, among other national and regional publications. Follow me @DanielWWalton

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