From a centuries-old
tradition of rest and renewal
in placid mountain settings... outdoor gear manufacturing in an ideal laboratory for product testing.
From the friendly
charm of our small
cities and towns... today’s energetic urban areas, preserving a heritage of welcome.
From farm-and-stream
freshness folded into
early Appalachian recipes... the largest shared-use food processing facility in the Southeast.
From the woven
history behind the
Southern Highlands Craft Guild... the high-speed, computer-assisted spinning of contemporary fabrics.
From the timeless world
of the Cherokee, finely-made
instruments of song... the planet of Moog, where synthesizers and imagination mix and mingle.
From early switchboards
and some of the
first trials of
electricity in America... Facebook servers, fiber optics, and forerunners of new technologies.
From a region that
pioneered hands-on
manufacturing... new technologies defined by precision and fine-tuning.

A TRADITION OF INNOVATION here in the North Carolina mountains causes art and invention to glide seamlessly together in the shape of new technologies, new foods, new energy, new ideas about wellness. In serving Western North Carolina, AdvantageWest – recognized as one of the most innovative economic development partnerships in the US – catalyzes enterprise that springs from the pioneers, the groundbreakers, the trendsetters for which these mountains are so well known.

Pending Closure of AdvantageWest

After 21 years of serving Western North Carolina, we regret to inform you that AdvantageWest is closing soon, due to the loss of state funding. 

But there's a silver lining: Thanks to the partnership of other organizations in the region, the following programs and initiatives continue:

* Blue Ridge Food Ventures continues under its new "parent," WNC Communities. The website remains here and the phone number is unchanged: 828-348-0130.

* Advantage Opportunity Fund and ScaleUp WNC: These entrepreneurial funding and development programs have been adopted by Mountain BizWorks and continue under the direction of Matt Raker, who has joined the MBW staff. In addition, the Outdoor Gear Builders of WNC trade association founded in part by AdvantageWest also continues with assistance from Mountain BizWorks. 

* WNC Film Commission's databases of film locations and crew were transferred to the NC Film Office, which also manages all inquiries.

* The Certified Entrepreneurial Development© program, which had previously been suspended, has been revitalized by Creative Economic Development Consulting.

* The "AdvantageWest Collection" of physical and digital files, news clippings, annual reports, and other items of historical significance are now located at the Western Regional Office of the State Archives of North Carolina and can be accessed by anyone seeking information on AdvantageWest or researching general economic development in the region.

If you need additional information, please contact us here. Thank you again for your partnership and support. It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Western North Carolina.


Southeast's first female-owned tea brewery & bottling facility gets start thanks to AdvantageWest

Buchi Kombucha, first made at Blue Ridge Food Ventures and now distributed nationwide, moves to its own facility with a boost from AdvantageWest's Advantage Opportunity Fund. Read more...
SylvanSport "GO"

Gearing Up: Sylvan Sport Makes Innovative Adventure Gear

Manufacturer of outdoor adventure gear finds success for his entrepreneurial venture in the Western North Carolina mountains. Read more...
Amy Pickett makes her dreams come true with her gelato cart and the help of Blue Ridge Food Ventures.

Video: How Blue Ridge Food Ventures Makes Dreams Come True

For Blue Ridge Food Ventures clients, getting their products to market is a dream come true. Hear their stories in this video on the impact of Blue Ridge Food Ventures. Read more...
Theresa Green, CEO of UliMana, in a video about her chocolate company

Founder of chocolate truffle company enjoys the sweet taste of success

With her raw, organic chocolate truffles made at Blue Ridge Food Ventures, UliMana founder and CEO Theresa Green is enjoying the sweet taste of success. She began production the same year that our agribusiness incubator opened its doors. It was a match made in commercial kitchen heaven. Read more...
AdvantageWest awarded for sustainability efforts by Ford Motor Company

AdvantageWest awarded for sustainability efforts by Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has selected AdvantageWest for a $2,000 sustainability award, recognizing us as a "forward-thinking organization improving the environment and quality of life" in Western North Carolina. Read more...
Sierra Nevada's bottling line, coming to Western North Carolina

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. selects AdvantageWest region for east coast expansion

The second largest privately held brewery in the US is making a multimillion dollar investment in the region and creating 80-100 full-time jobs and 40-60 part-time jobs. "We are thrilled to have found an ideal location in Western North Carolina for our second brewery," says Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman. Read more...
BRP Spruce Pine manufacturer innovates to increase value.

BRP Spruce Pine zooms ahead with innovations that meet customer demands.

Tucked away in Mitchell County is the Spruce Pine facility of BRP, a leading lost foam casting manufacturer and a global producer of Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles; Sea-Doo watercraft; Can-Am ATVs, side-by-sides and roadsters; Evinrude outboard engines; and Rotax engines. Read more...

AdvantageWest Announces Future Plans

AdvantageWest plans to suspend operations by the end of this year, but its programs and initiatives are expected to live on thanks to the help of other nonprofit entities in the region, allowing the organization’s work to continue making a positive impact long into the future. Read more...

Innovative WNC small businesses reveal plans to scale up

A baker, a beer-maker and a milkman walk into a bar….and a few hours later emerge having fully completed an intensive program designed to take their growing businesses to the next level. The event is the first ever ScaleUp WNC Demo Day, Tuesday, May 26, from 2-6 p.m.The bar is The Orange Peel in downtown Asheville .And joining the baker.. Read more...
Get In Gear Fest logo

Inaugural 'Get in Gear Fest' on March 21 invites outdoor enthusiasts to get in gear for spring

This free, family-friendly event will take place at RiverLink Park in Asheville and will include product demos, gear clinics, beer from local breweries, raffles, races and more. A portion of proceeds from beer sales will directly support the work of RiverLink, a nonprofit that works to revitalize the French Broad River. Read more...
AdvantageWest E-News

AdvantageWest eNews: Announcing 1st ScaleUp WNC Cohort; plus, upcoming events & ops

Check out the AdvantageWest eNews for March 2, 2015 for details about the first ScaleUp WNC cohort, which includes 15 small businesses (selected out of a whopping 67 applicants!). You'll also find information about some exciting regional news and events. Read more...
ScaleUp WNC

First cohort for ScaleUp WNC is announced

An article in the Asheville Citizen-Times Sunday business section provides an overview of the 15 businesses selected for the first cohort of ScaleUp WNC, featuring interviews with Carolina Native Nursery, located in Yancey County, and Strivven Media, a Buncombe-based company that provides e-learning and education technology. Read more...
Buchi kombucha

Blue Ridge Food Ventures grad & Advantage Opportunity Fund portfolio client featured in documentary

Craft beverage company Buchi is featured in an ambitious transmedia project in which nationally recognized writer Darren Dahl and WNC filmmakers Adams Wood and Rod Murphy of Industrious Productions followed the life of the business for three months. The project has been released on American Express OPEN Forum as "The Journey." Read more...
ScaleUp WNC

ScaleUp WNC helping small businesses grow and create jobs

Led by AdvantageWest, ScaleUp WNC will provide intensive growth strategy development and implementation assistance to 150 Western North Carolina growth-oriented entrepreneurs. This stage of companies, after startup but before maturity, tends to be underserved in the region and across the country. Read more...
Blue Ridge Food Ventures on Mountain Xpress Cover

Blue Ridge Food Ventures is featured on the cover of Mountain Xpress as one of Asheville's Food Pioneers

Mountain Xpress takes a look at the roots of Asheville's thriving food scene and a few of the many individuals and organizations who built it from the ground up. Blue Ridge Food Ventures is profiled as one of those food pioneers, with Executive Director Chris Reedy pictured on the cover. Read more...
US Small Business Administration logo

SBA Awards Contract to AdvantageWest & Partners for Scale-up WNC

The SBA has awarded AdvantageWest and its partners a contract to provide intensive business scale-up assistance and leadership development to small businesses across Western North Carolina with strong potential for growth and job creation each year through a program called ScaleUp WNC. It was one of only eight awards made across the US. Read more...

"The World Made Straight" Feature Film Picks up US Distribution

The WNC-filmed feature "The World Made Straight," based on the book by the same name by NC author Ron Rash, has secured US distribution by Millennium Entertainment. This production shot in March 2013 in Buncombe and Madison Counties and had a direct in-state spend of more than $2 million and accounted for 288 jobs. Millennium will releas Read more...
Southern Economic Development Council logo

AdvantageWest website wins "Superior" by Southern Economic Development Council

The new website for AdvantageWest has won a "Superior" from the Southern Economic Development Council, the oldest and largest regional economic development association in North America with 900 members in 17 states and DC. This is the fourth consecutive year that AdvantageWest has been recognized for communications excellence by SEDC. Read more...