Hendersonville Launches Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund

The City of Hendersonville is proud to announce the Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund, a new initiative aimed at supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses in Hendersonville’s Main Street and 7th Avenue Districts.

Funded by a grant from the Dogwood Health Trust, the Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund was created in response to the needs of local small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area, particularly those who are interested in opening a business in the Main Street and 7th Avenue Districts that make up Historic Downtown Hendersonville. The program supports entrepreneurs at various stages of business – from idea to growth – by providing training, technical assistance, and access to loan capital.

The Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund is a partnership among the City of Hendersonville Downtown Program, Mountain BizWorks, Black Wall Street AVL and the Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College and includes support for entrepreneurs interested in launching, sustaining, and growing their downtown Hendersonville businesses. Training and program offerings are available to anyone, including current businesses already operating in downtown Hendersonville.

“Our goal in the program is to highlight training and support that already exists in the region, and further connect to loan capital businesses need in order to start or grow,” said Jamie Carpenter, Downtown Manager with the City of Hendersonville. “We want this program to support the entire process for our local businesses, from creating or updating a solid business model that will thrive in our downtown, to ensuring they have the access to financing that is difficult to obtain for any entrepreneur, especially those without a large down payment or other equity to use as collateral.”

The program includes a focused outreach to low-to-moderate income residents, women, and people of color, paying close attention to the 7th Avenue District which was historically a hub of Black-owned businesses.

To help connect with historically underutilized businesses, program partners Black Wall Street AVL will provide an important connector between resources available. BWS AVL utilizes a ‘family’ model for new entrepreneurs of color to increase accountability and camaraderie among new business owners.

“We aim to draw attention to the history of the 7th Avenue District and identify opportunities to infuse some of the entrepreneurial spirit into the present day and have highlighted that through the partnerships in this program,” explained Bruce Waller, executive director of Black Wall Street AVL.

Known as Brooklyn, the community was located in and around 7th Avenue and included homes, civic organizations, and many Black-owned businesses. In the 1960s, urban renewal projects displaced residents while rebuilding the neighborhood to be what is known today as Green Meadows.

The program provides businesses and entrepreneurs of all stages a roadmap to success with training and technical assistance, mentorship, and guidance. The centerpoint of the Downtown Opportunity Fund is a small business loan program in partnership with Mountain BizWorks to provide loan capital for businesses that are not otherwise eligible for traditional bank financing.

In addition to Mountain BizWorks, program partners Black Wall Street and Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center will provide training, technical assistance, and mentorship to support entrepreneurs to find success.

 The following classes and training sessions are scheduled to kick off the program:

  • June 8 – 10am – 11am (Virtual) Commercial Real Estate 101: From Contracts to Closings (RSVP Required)
  • June 9 – 10am – 11am (Virtual) Commercial Leasing 101: Empowering Tenants through Lease Negotiation (RSVP Required)
  • June 12 -5:30pm – 7:30 pm How to Create and Present a Winning Business Pitch – Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center – Free – (RSVP Required)
  • June 13 – 5:30pm – 7:30 pm – Financing Your Business – Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center – Free – (RSVP Required)
  • June 15 – 5:30pm – 7:30 pm – Best Free and Low-Cost Marketing for 2023 – Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center – Free – (RSVP Required)
  • July 18 – Evenings for 6 Weeks – Mountain BizWorks Foundations Course – Join a cohort of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to gain all of the foundational business skills needed to turn your business dream into a reality. Qualifying residents may receive a scholarship up to 90% of the course cost. (More information & Register Here)

For more information about the Downtown Hendersonville Opportunity Fund, please visit hvlopp.org.

The City of Hendersonville Downtown Program exists to identify, preserve, and enhance the authentic small town urban character of historic downtown Hendersonville. As a nationally Accredited Main Street Program, the City of Hendersonville, Downtown Advisory Board, and the Friends of Downtown Hendersonville enhances and supports a vibrant entrepreneurial environment and the livability of downtown. Projects include infrastructure improvements, special events and promotions, historic preservation, planning initiatives and beautification efforts. Find out more at downtownhendersonville.org.

Prepared by the City of Hendersonville.