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Haywood development entity contributes to business start-up competition

The Haywood Advancement Foundation, a non-profit economic development entity, has pledged $2,700 to the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce start-up business competition.

The donation marks the end of a campaign to raise $10,000 that will be awarded to an entrepreneur with the best business plan. The contest, funded solely by the private sector, has two functions. It sends the message that Haywood County is supportive of small business. It also will spur entrepreneurs to hammer out their ideas in tangible business plans — which will make them more prone to success regardless of whether they win the contest.

Other contributors included Haywood Regional Medical Center, First Citizens Bank, Progress Energy, BB&T and Smoky Mountain Development Corporation.

“Having the $10,000 secured is wonderful,” said CeCe Hipps, executive director of the chamber. “It is a good fit for the Haywood Advancement Foundation to be a part of such an important initiative.”

Haywood Advancement could be looking at similar small business initiatives in the future thanks to a couple of windfalls coming its way from the sale of property. Offering large tracts of property at discounted rates to industry was once considered a key economic development tool. Two tracts owned by Haywood Advancement are nearing a sale. Money made on the land could be invested toward the new paradigm in economic development: small business.

“We felt like the business plan contest was a great way to continue fostering entrepreneurship and support small business development,” said John Howell, president of Haywood Advancement Foundation. “Part of what we have viewed as our mission for economic development is fostering entrepreneurship. That’s one of the things we are going to be addressing as we sell these pieces of property.”

Haywood Advancement has nearly closed on the sale of a tract at the corner of Old Asheville Highway and Howell Mill Road that will bring a profit well into the six figures.

The other property Haywood Advancement Foundation has up for sale is Dayco, a run-down factory on 30 acres in Waynesville. It is currently under contract. Haywood Advancement bought Dayco out of bankruptcy court where it was languishing and with hopes of putting it back into productive use. The town of Waynesville and Haywood County each contributed $650,000 to buy Dayco. When Dayco eventually sells, Haywood Advancement will get whatever is left over after paying the town and county back.

A committee of those on Haywood Advancement Foundation Board will be appointed to come up with ideas on how to use the money from both sales.

The land Haywood Advancement is expected to sell this week off the Old Asheville Highway was acquired in the mid-1980s with public funds, namely ABC revenues. It was transferred to Haywood Advancement in 1999.

Haywood Advancement officers for 2006 were appointed at the last meeting. Howell will serve his second term as president. Other appointments include Jeff Norris as vice president, Steve Kaufman as secretary and Patsy Rogers as treasurer. Ron Leatherwood of Clark and Leatherwood was reappointed to a seat on the board.

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