While much attention has been paid to the struggles of individual businesses that have borne the economic brunt of the pandemic, Asheville’s business organizations, which provide a critical framework for entrepreneurs to network, collaborate and market their wares, have also taken a hit.
With an emphasis on takeout specials, the ninth annual event runs Jan. 19-25.
Chief among the issues facing the General Assembly next year, said Sen. Chuck Edwards, would be balancing the state’s next budget to reflect pandemic-driven downturns in revenue. He estimated that the shortfall compared to current spending levels could be as much as $8 billion.
Buncombe hotels can now host more visitors — as long as they have an 828 area code. The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce has announced a coronavirus-inflected legislative agenda, and $5,000 micro grants are available for local startups.
Local businesses are bringing creativity to bear on pandemic-related closures and plans for business revitalization following the end of restrictions. They could get some help: Sen. Chuck Edwards of Hendersonville announced he will introduce legislation to the N.C. General Assembly to allow the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority to make grants to tourism businesses to support their reopening.
For individuals who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, the fund could pay for “life-essential needs” such as utilities and mortgages. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees could receive low-interest loans of up to $10,000 to sustain operations until they could reopen or get additional support from the federal government.
During a Nov. 19 meeting of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, attorney Ron Payne said the settlement would bring the suit to an end, “hopefully in somewhat of an expeditious manner.” All six commissioners present were in favor of accepting the settlement, with Vice Chair Jasmine Beach-Ferrara absent for the vote.
The longest economic party in U.S. history isn’t quite over yet, economist Bernard Baumohl told a capacity crowd at the Metro Economy Outlook hosted by the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 24. But fears of recession and “acts of human folly” clouded his assessment of otherwise strong market fundamentals.
As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted with futurist Rebecca Ryan about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.
Sen. Chuck Edwards, who represents Henderson, Transylvania and eastern Buncombe counties in N.C. Senate District 48, said he remained firm in his desire to see the city of Asheville take a different approach to electing its council members. “I get constant feedback from constituents in Asheville that they can’t get City Council folks to pick up the phone, let alone to listen to a specific concern that they might have in their neighborhood,” he said.
A healthy crowd turned out to mingle with local and regional elected officials at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s 14th annual elected officials reception.
A group representing government, education, business and nonprofit organizations is coalescing to form a community response to a severe racial achievement gap in Asheville City Schools. But it’s not yet clear how the initiative will define its goals and approach — and what resources it can attract to fund the effort.
Beverly-Hanks Realtors celebrated a big year with an awards ceremony Feb. 12. Mega Networking returns to the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce on Mar. 14. And the cost of renting an apartment rose nearly three percent over the past year, according to an industry website.
Nearly 67 percent of surveyed businesses expected to grow their workforce over the next three years, representing up to 26,700 new jobs for the region. The manufacturing and hospitality industries anticipated the largest hiring booms — up to 7,556 and 6,618 jobs, respectively — but all sectors planned for at least some expansion.
Passenger numbers increased by 18.6 percent compared to 2017, assisted by new nonstop routes to destinations such as Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa, Fla. A recent economic impact study found that the airport contributes nearly $1.5 billion per year to the local economy.
The document, set by the chamber’s advocacy and policy committee, adds opioid and substance abuse prevention to the docket for the first time. Affordable housing and expanded transit options throughout the Asheville metro region also made the cut, while Medicaid restructuring and the Interstate 26 Connector Project were both removed from last year’s list.
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.
Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Kit Cramer weighed in on the year’s top economic development accomplishments in Buncombe County, starting with funding progress on the Interstate 26 Connector.
“The city allowed the builder to go through all the expensive steps required to get total approval from all regulatory agencies, and then several Council members announced their intent to vote against it because, in their great wisdom, they have made the arbitrary decision that Asheville already has too many hotels.”
Returning for its second year, Hatch This combines techie business tropes including an accelerator, a hackathon and, of course, a party. The event takes place Friday-Sunday, Nov. 2-4. Participants will compete for $20,000 in prizes, including a $5,000 seed funding package. Also: who’s on the job, a state program to match federal business grants.
In this week’s news in brief, read about the Sunday, Sept. 30, event that promises to help you get more engaged in shaping city government. Learn which Buncombe County teachers won top honors, and check out the initial results of Warren Wilson College’s initiative to offer all eligible incoming North Carolina students four years of tuition-free education.