Reality check: Mountain BizWorks gets $1.25 million from SBA

Mike Arriola, Deputy District Director for the Small Business Administration, presents a check for $1.25 million to support Mountain BizWorks' microlending program. Photo by Virginia Daffron.

When local ice cream entrepreneurs Greg and Ashley Garrison of The Hop found the perfect space for a new production facility this  spring, the couple needed fast access to capital for fitting up their new kitchen. Two weeks after contacting Mountain BizWorks, the Garrisons received a check. “The process was the smoothest it possibly could have been,” recalled Greg, who noted that the new facility allowed The Hop to increase its maximum production from 600 gallons per week last summer to 1,000 gallons per week this year.

With a new $1.25 million commitment of capital from the Small Business Administration (SBA), Mountain BizWorks is now positioned to expand its microloan program to support even more businesses like the Garrison’s, said executive director Patrick Fitzsimmons. SBA Deputy District Director Mike Arriola visited Asheville on Wednesday to award the new funding.

“Since 2006, Mountain BizWorks has participated in the SBA microlending program. In that time, it has provided SBA loans to over 80 startups and 150 existing businesses,” Arriola commented. “But beyond the statistics, they are helping to create the American dream for individual entrepreneurs like Greg who just spoke.”

Bill Carrington of Self-Help Credit Union, who serves as president of Mountain BizWorks’ Board of Directors, said Mountain BizWorks funding has created 209 new jobs and sustained 180 others in the local community over the past two years.

Arriola praised the Mountain BizWorks team, and expressed the opinion that the organization “exemplifies what it means to be an effective microlender.” The SBA, Arriola concluded, “has a very high regard for Mountain BizWorks, and we are thrilled to be a part of helping them fulfill their mission.”




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

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One thought on “Reality check: Mountain BizWorks gets $1.25 million from SBA

  1. Loletha Green

    As I read this article I was not surprised that the funding process went smoothly for the already established business owner, however I am a bit concerned that the process for African Americans in the City of Asheville have not reap the benefits of Mountain Biz Works financial assistance for start-ups or business expansion. In the past I visited the company and completed the process but unfortunately the process did not work for me. I was detoured due to the lack of collateral which is often the case in African American communities. The jobs are few and income is limited, this is why I was referred to Mountain Biz Works and the SBA for women assistance these avenues were dead ends and my business never opened. This should never be the case. Economic growth and commerce is needed and desired among African American citizens. The Black community here stands at 20%, and contribute to the cities economic growth by supporting both local and braded businesses here; the favor is not returned due to higher level jobs barriers for this section and new construction jobs also lacks hiring this population. Expansions and greater opportunities are needed here for people of color. Business is growing leaps and bounds in the City of Asheville, but how many of the new found business are Black owned, how many loans are given to Black owned entrepreneurs? This is bipartisan to say the least and SBA needs to look into the criteria for loaning provisions for low-income small business prospects.

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