Growing Outdoors will support innovation and the next generation of outdoor entrepreneurs through the following programs:

Outdoor Entrepreneurship Training

Outdoor Gear Builders will partner with Mountain BizWorks to offer an annual series of trainings covering critical topics in outdoor industry manufacturing and recreation, to ensure success and growth of both existing and startup companies in region.

Growing Outdoors Revolving Loan Fund

The project will establish new Growing Outdoors Revolving Loan Funds at Mountain BizWorks and Natural Capital Investment Fund. Already $800k in funding commitments has been secured to benefit outdoor industry businesses in rural communities. Where technical assistance is needed, applicants will be encouraged to utilize the training, mentorship and related services made possible under this project.

Outdoor Accelerator

A new outdoor entrepreneurship and innovation accelerator program will be launched leveraging existing regional resources including the Outdoor Gear Builders, Mountain BizWorks, Western Carolina University and other partners. The program will serve 10 high-potential emerging entrepreneurs each year.

Build It. Test It. Live It. Solutions Guide

WNC has many of the key capabilities to help outdoor industry meet key needs related to product development, testing, and manufacturing. However, to-date these regional assets have not be well-aligned or marketed to the industry (even regionally) and are currently underutilized. The Outdoor Gear Builders and partners will create a “Build It. Test It. Live It.” database and campaign to effectively package and connect these assets to industry both regionally and nationally. This will advance the competitiveness of WNC’s outdoor industry, accelerate innovation, spur entrepreneurship, and bring new business opportunities to rural manufacturers.

Want to know more?

We’ve got you covered. The project was officially announced on October 11, 2018. Many more details on the project’s resources and programs will be released over the next few months. Sign up for the email newsletter below to stay posted on the latest developments and opportunities.

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