Your brand is your handle. The handle that opens the door to your business, its products and services.

Invitation to 2018 Start. Grow. Thrive. Conference

November 13 @ 8:30 am-5:30pm Asheville NC

150 area entrepreneurs including scaling companies, innovative startups, and representatives from funders with over $100m of capital under management.

Join us for the second annual Start. Grow. Thrive. Conference to advance and celebrate entrepreneurship across Western North Carolina. This is WNC’s feature event for Global Entrepreneurship Week in which hundreds of communities internationally elevate the opportunity of entrepreneurship and business ownership. 

This year’s event aims to again draw over 150 existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and has an action-packed agenda featuring real world insights from local startups and scaling entrepreneurs, strategy deep dives, a special financial acumen multiplayer game, and ample networking with peers, capital and other resources. We’re very grateful for our host partner, A-B Tech Small Business Center, who are providing their terrific new A-B Tech Mission Health Conference Center for the event.

Gary Heisey, Founder and Brand Strategist with Brand Door, is facilitating the afternoon session at 3:00pm on Grow Your Business by Growing Your Brand

The conference is free (registration is required) thanks to generous support from our partners and sponsors including Mountain BizWorks, A-B Tech Small Business Center, NC Small Business Center Network, SBTDC, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Self-Help Credit Union, Spark Tank, and Venture Asheville.

Come connect, learn, and advance WNC’s entrepreneur-driven economy. Registration is available via A-B Tech Small Business Center at the link below:


Agenda at a Glance

8:00 am Check-in
8:30 am Welcome
8:40 – 9:40 am The Startup Journey: Lessons and Insights from Emerging Entrepreneurs
Featuring Asheville Tea Company, Global Language System, Mountain to Sea, Rayburn Farms, and TwisTek
9:40 – 9:55 am Network & Recharge Break
Featuring a Test Drive Tent
9:55 – 10:55 am Navigating Growth: How to Harness and Manage Your Next Big Opportunity 
Featuring Lightheart Gear, Mountain Electronics, No Evil Foods, and UpStaff
11:00 – 12:00 pm Entrepreneurial Spaces: Hear the Latest from Area Incubators, Accelerators, and Coworking Centers
Featuring A-B Tech Small Business Incubator, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Center for Craft, Hatch, Hola Carolina, The Collider, and Velocity
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch
With Legislative Updates and remarks from Venture Asheville
1:10 – 4:30 pm Special Afternoon Track: ZODIAK Small Business Financial Acumen Game
Presented by Paradigm Learning and Mountain BizWorks
1:10 – 2:40 pm Breakout Sessions I – Select One 
A. Startup Strategy Deep Dive
B. Scale Up & Exit Strategy Deep Dive
2:40 – 3:00 pm Network & Recharge Break
Featuring a Test Drive Tent
3:00 – 4:30 pm Breakout Sessions II – Select One 
A. Grow Your Business by Growing Your Brand
B. Access To Capital for Entrepreneurs
4:00 – 5:30 pm Networking Reception
Featuring networking with peers, music, and craft drinks and snacks