ASHEVILLE— The Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC), a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF), hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Jan. 12 for its new office location in the Asheville Mall.
Previously located at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s Enka location, the WWBC’s move to the Asheville Mall is the result of an expansion of the WWBC’s work and deepening partnerships with local community and economic development entities.
“The new location allows the WWBC to be more accessible to small business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Zurilma Anuel, WWBC Director. “Moving into a location as easily accessible as the mall will help us continue our growth as a visible and approachable resource for small business owners in our community.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by more than 40 local small business leaders, entrepreneurs, and public officials. The ceremony was also attended by representatives of Buncombe County; the City of Asheville; the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA); Dogwood Health Trust; Appalachian Community Capital; Pinnacle Bank; TD Bank; A-B Tech Community College; Mountain BizWorks; the Asheville Chamber; Self Help Credit Union; Invest Appalachia; OnTrack Financials; Buncombe County Literacy Together; Western Carolina University; UNC-Asheville; the Small Business Center Network (SBCN), SCORE, and the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC); and the Asheville Mall. The ribbon cutting ceremony was also attended by representatives from U.S. Representative Chuck Edwards (NC-11) and U.S. Senator Ted Budd’s offices.
“The SBA is honored and proud to support the Western Women’s Business Center,” said SBA District Director Mike Arriola. “North Carolina continues to see record trends in the number of new business filings, and we consistently rank as one of the best states in the nation for business development—and it’s because of partnerships like the one we have the WWBC, and the five other Women’s Business Centers in North Carolina, that our state continues to be the best place to start and grow a small business.”
Senator Budd issued the following statement: “I’d like to congratulate the Western Women’s Business Center on their new Asheville location. The WWBC does tremendous work to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and make sure that opportunities for economic development are widely available in every community in North Carolina.”
The WWBC serves a 22-county region in Western North Carolina and is run through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and Carolina Small Business Development Fund. “CSBDF is a state-wide organization committed to fostering economic development in underserved communities by providing capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses,” said Kevin Dick, CSBDF President and CEO. “As a program of CSBDF, the Western Women’s Business Center fills an important role in Western North Carolina’s small business ecosystem.”
Between 2021 and 2022, the WWBC served more than 680 clients, provided more than 900 hours of technical assistance, and hosted more than 50 workshops, events, and seminars. Since 2014 when the WWBC launched, the program has served more than 3,200 clients and provided more than 3,400 hours of technical assistance.
“The growth and expansion of the WWBC has been an invaluable part of CSBDF’s commitment to serving small businesses in North Carolina,” said Dick. “We’re excited to see the continued growth of the WWBC in its new home as the program continues to light the way forward for women-owned small businesses in the western part of our state.”
About the Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC) Since 2014 and with a specific focus on women and minority entrepreneurs, the Western Women’s Business Center has endeavored to uplift and support small business owners in a 22-county region in Western North Carolina. By providing group trainings and workshops, access to capital, and one-on-one business coaching, the WWBC plays a crucial role in the region’s small business ecosystem.
The WWBC is a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund and is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
About Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF)
Founded in 1990, Carolina Small Business Development Fund is a nonprofit and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses. Since 2010, CSBDF has contributed more than $98.4 million through 1,133 loans and 1,602 grants to dedicated small business across North Carolina, helping to create or retain more than 4,700 full-time jobs.
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