Business news in brief from our issue of Aug. 1, 2018

INVESTING IN COMMUNITY: Wells Fargo will provide $650,000 in grants to Mountain BizWorks. The money will provide lending capital to support minority business entrepreneurship, as well as new staff resources to provide business training and support. Photo courtesy of Mountain BizWorks

Mountain BizWorks gets $650,000 to boost diverse business ownership

Mountain BizWorks joined 12 other organizations nationwide in receiving significant funding from Wells Fargo. To support its efforts to help diverse small-business owners in Asheville, the nonprofit will receive $250,000 in program grant funds and $400,000 in lending capital.

For nearly 30 years, MBW has been making business loans ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 to small businesses that may find it difficult to secure funding from banks and other traditional sources. All MBW loan decisions and relationships are managed locally and include the option to receive peer-to-peer business coaching from local business owners.

The new funds, MBW said in a release, will allow it to double its lending to diverse entrepreneurs, start or expand 100 businesses, and start or retain 225 jobs in Asheville over the next three years. The organization will also hire two new staff members to increase training for accessing capital, procurement, succession planning and other issues.

On July 25, Sasha Mitchell of the Color of Asheville spoke to community stakeholders about the Wells Fargo award at the YMI Cultural Center in Asheville.

Wells Fargo will distribute $175 million over three years to community development financial institutions, which are private, nonprofit financial institutions that assist underserved populations and communities. Wells Fargo has distributed more than $55 million to 56 CDFIs since 2015.

What’s news

  • Amanda Bryant, who has served as interim executive director of Asheville Museum of Science since April, has been named executive director of the organization.
  • Lea McLellan launched Blue Ridge Tutoring to offer ACT and SAT boot camp classes. The company will offer at least two dedicated scholarship spots in each course.
  • In conjunction with other area chambers, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce will offer a regional business expo featuring over 120 companies on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Expo Building, WNC Agricultural Center, 1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Arden.
  • The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce will host a #WomanUp Workshop on Thursday, Aug. 9, 8-10:30 a.m., at the Expo Center at Crowne Plaza Resort, 1 Resort Drive, Asheville. Featured speakers are Rebekah Lowe and Will Sparks. Registration at ends Aug. 3.
  • HomeTrust Bank announced the appointment of Allen Helms to senior vice president and senior business credit officer. He will focus on the business banking effort across HomeTrust’s four-state footprint and will serve as the primary credit officer for that line of business.

Beverly-Hanks reports on region’s real estate market

Asheville-based Beverly-Hanks & Associates, Realtors released its market report on the second quarter of 2018.

Highlights of the report include:

  • There are 4 percent fewer homes for sale now than this time last year. The trend is particularly strong in the number of homes for sale under $300,000, which dropped by 12 percent in the second quarter and is most pronounced in Buncombe and Henderson counties.
  • The Federal Finance Housing Agency reported that the Asheville metropolitan statistical area’s home prices appreciated 8.28 percent over the last 12 months. Beverly-Hanks expects this rate of appreciation to continue for at least the remainder of this year. Buncombe County’s median sales price continues to lead the region at $300,000. Yancey and Mitchell counties are the most affordable at $168,750.
  • Mortgages for reasonably qualified buyers continue to be readily available, even for those with little money to put down.

Company President Neal Hanks’ full report is available at



About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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