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Resources - Small Business
More than $4 million flows through Clay County’s economy annually from those who are self-employed. Additionally, only seven employers in Clay County employ more than 50 people. Small businesses, and even micro-businesses (those with five or fewer employees), are the lifeblood of Clay County’s economy, and Clay County is attuned to the needs of small businesses in the community.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) office in Asheville serves Clay County and 21 other Western North Carolina counties. The SBA has developed many small business loan and assistance programs, special outreach efforts and initiatives to aid and inform small businesses, including financing and microloans, and free business counseling and information. Learn more at www.sba.gov.


Tri-County Community College’s Small Business Center offers entrepreneurs assistance in management training via seminars, workshops, and courses ranging from management to technical skills; no-cost one-on-one assistance to discuss and evaluate ideas for starting a new business or to receive an honest appraisal of a current business’s performance; networking and referrals to local, state, and federal agencies to answer business questions; and a variety of free reference and resource materials developed by the U.S. Small Business Administration as well as access to an on-site computer to develop a business plan or examine sample plans.

Resource Counseling Seminars Resource
Classes Non-Bank
Appalachian Regional Commission -- -- Y -- -- --
Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council Y Y Y Y -- Y
Mountain Bizworks Y Y Y Y Y Y
NC Rural Economic
Development Center
Sequoyah Fund Y Y Y Y Y Y
Small Business Technology
Development Center
Y Y -- Y -- --
Smokey Mountain Development
-- Y -- Y Y --
Southeast Industrial Development
Y -- Y Y -- Y
Southwestern Workforce
Development Board
Y -- Y -- -- --
Tennessee Valley Authority Y Y Y Y -- Y
Tri-County Community College
Small Business Center
Y Y Y Y Y --
Western NC SCORE (Service Corps
of Retired Executives)
Y Y Y Y Y --

Large industries, while few in Clay County, are nonetheless welcome. The County is regularly upgrading infrastructure to meet the needs of large businesses that will appreciate the economic advantages available in this area.

Business resources include:
  • AdvantageWest Economic Development Group – regional economic development partner ship serving the 23 western counties of North Carolina – www.advantagewest.com
  • Appalachian Regional Commission - regional economic development agency that funds several hundred projects in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation – www.arc.gov
  • Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council - supports entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina through the following four focus areas: education, mentoring and networking, communications and capital formation - www.brecnc.com
  • Blue Ridge Mountain EMC – electric membership corporation, providing electricity to businesses and homes at attractive rates – www.brmemc.com
  • Mountain BizWorks – helps Western North Carolina businesses of all sizes through lending, consulting, training, and entrepreneur development – www.mountainbizworks.org
  • NC Department of Commerce – business resources - www.thrivenc.com
  • NC Division of Employment Security – employment statistics and information – www.ncesc.com
  • NC Rural Economic Development Center – serving as the state’s rural policy leader, with special focus on communities with limited resources – www.ncruralcenter.org
  • SBA – federal resource for small business loans and advice – www.sba.gov
  • Sequoyah Fund – supports Western North Carolina businesses with loan capital, training, and technical assistance – www.sequoyahfund.org
  • Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at Western Carolina University – business and technology extension service of the University of North Carolina, committed to providing knowledge, education, and other supportive resources that enable existing small and mid-sized businesses, emerging entrepreneurs, and local/state leaders to innovate and succeed - www.sbtdc.org/offices/wcu/
  • Smokey Mountain Development Corporation – SBA loan administrator; operates a business incubator – www.smdcnc.org
  • Southwestern Commission / Southwestern Workforce Development Board – Council of Government; facilitating regional planning efforts – www.regiona.org
  • Southeast Industrial Development Association – regional economic development association – www.seida.info
  • Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) – U.S. government-owned electricity provider; provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system; assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development – www.tvaed.com and www.tvasites.com
  • Tri-County Community College – provides higher education opportunities and workforce training – www.tricountycc.edu
  • Western NC SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) – Provides information and free business counseling in eight southwest North Carolina counties, including Clay County – www.westernnc.score.org

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