BizWorks to close two regional offices

The Mountain BizWorks office in Sylva, which serves would-be entrepreneurs and other small business owners in the state’s seven westernmost counties, will close June 30.

Mountain BizWorks is also closing its Hendersonville field office on May 31.

“This is a strategic decision where we are not reacting to losses, but taking action to develop a more effective, creative and sustainable model for working with businesses across western North Carolina,” CEO Shaw Canale said.

Bottom line, financial issues forced the closure. One full-time staffer and one part-time staffer, as well as workshop leaders and business coaches hired on a contract basis, will lose jobs as a result of the shutdown in Sylva.

Canale said the restructuring was necessary to address the evolving needs of the region’s small businesses. She said the new strategy “will enable Mountain BizWorks to invest in efforts that create jobs that sustain families and support asset building.”

Mountain BizWorks plans to do more work along the line of its agricultural program. Canale pointed to the success of its agricultural program over the past year, through which Mountain BizWorks helped over 200 farmers and food producers and distributors in 14 western North Carolina counties start or grow their agricultural businesses. This work is based in Asheville but offered throughout the region.

“The agricultural program demonstrates that it is possible to build a program that is relationship and partnership based rather than building based,” says Canale.

Mountain BizWorks will continue to offer lending, consulting and training to entrepreneurs across the region through its Asheville office. Customized lending, coaching and training in Spanish for Latino entrepreneurs – to be based in the Asheville office – will also be available in all Western North Carolina counties.

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