If you’re casting about for help in starting a new business — or are primed to take your business to the next level — there are a number of resources available. Here are a few to get you started:
• Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business & Entrepreneurship department has information on topics pertinent to small-business owners (36 Montford Ave., Asheville; 258-6101; www.ashevillechamber.org).
• A-B Tech’s Small Business Center offers free business counseling, a resource center, plus workshops and other educational opportunities (A-B Tech’s Enka campus, 1465 Sand Hill Road, Suite 1060, Asheville; 254-1921; www1.abtech.edu/sbc).
• The Asheville SCORE chapter is part of a nationwide nonprofit association that provides free advice from experienced volunteer business counselors (151 Patton Ave., Asheville in Room 259 of the Federal Building; 271-4786; ashevillescore.org).
• Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a program of the regional economic development partnership AdvantageWest, rents a large shared-use kitchen to entrepreneurs who need a place to produce and package foods (A-B Tech’s Enka campus, 1461 Sand Hill Road, Asheville; 348-0128; www.advantagewest.com).
• Center for Community Self-Help and its financing affiliates, including Self-Help Credit Union, “provide financing, technical support, consumer financial services, and advocacy for those left out of the economic mainstream,” according to its website (34 Wall St., Suite 704, Asheville; 253-5251; www.self-help.org).
• Mountain BizWorks, a nonprofit community development financial institution, aims to support entrepreneurship in 12 Western North Carolina counties through lending, consulting and training, with services in English and Spanish. Its Womens Business Center targets women entrepreneurs (153 S. Lexington Ave., Asheville; 253-2834; mountainbizworks.org).
• The SheBIZ Alliance is a women’s networking and referral group that provides a non-competitive environment to connect with other business owners and develop business leads (1456 Patton Ave., Asheville; 230-8112; shebizalliance.com).
• Small Business Administration’s Western North Carolina office offers information on small-business loans, grants, bonds and other financial assistance (29 Haywood St., Asheville, 225-1844; www.sba.gov).
• Small Business and Technology Development Center, the business and technology extension service of the University of North Carolina, provides training and business expertise to small- and mid-size businesses and start-ups (Two offices through Western Carolina University: 68 Patton Ave. in the lobby of the Bank of America building, Asheville; 251-6025; and 226 Forsyth Building, WCU College of Business, Cullowhee; 227-3504; www.sbtdc.org).
— Tracy Rose is a freelance writer and editor in Asheville.