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Mountain BizWorks

Mountain BizWorks

mountain bizworks logo with green cog wheel

Founded in 1989, Mountain BizWorks provides business loans and coaching to emerging and established small businesses in Western North Carolina. The organization focuses on working with business owners who are unable to access traditional paths of financing as well as low-income, minority, women and immigrant entrepreneurs.

Mountain BizWorks seeks to build a vibrant and inclusive entrepreneurial culture throughout the 18 counties in Western North Carolina. They work hard to help small businesses start, grow and thrive with the motto of “when small businesses succeed, we all prosper.”

A Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Mountain BizWorks is one of nearly 1,300 CDFIs operating in the US, with 200 being in the Southeast and only 16 in North Carolina. A place-based fund, the organization focuses on the unique opportunities and challenges across the Appalachian Mountain region of NC. All lending decisions are made locally, and all staff are based in WNC.

In addition to offering funding paths, they also help small business owners succeed by offering high-touch business courses and customized business coaching. Business owners work together in groups to engage in training and share their areas of expertise, from budgeting and operations to hiring and marketing

Mountain BizWorks has partnered with Dogwood on a number of initiatives, including helping area businesses get through the COVID-19 pandemic. Mountain BizWorks and Dogwood partnered to expand access to the Paycheck Protection Program, with Dogwood helping to set up an emergency fund to deploy $19.1 million in two rounds of funding across the region. This assistance was able to directly cover paychecks for over 10,000 WNC employees.

In the Fall of 2020, Mountain BizWorks launched its Multicultural Catalyst Fund, which aims to improve the startup funding landscape for entrepreneurs of color. Dogwood partnered with Mountain BizWorks to provide grant funding for this initiative.

Matt Raker, executive director of Mountain BizWorks says, “Dogwood is a transformational resource for our region. WNC has great vision and planning but has been under-resourced. Dogwood’s ability to help get people around the table and serve as a strategic funder is essential for moving us forward.”

“Dogwood is a transformational resource for our region.”

– Matt Raker, executive director, Mountain BizWorks

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