Local, sustainable, social: Venture Local business forum is Friday


Tickets are $70 and the event is at the Renaissance Hotel.

From the event’s website:

This year’s Venture Local is all about connecting and advancing innovative and high-potential businesses that are helping to build vibrant communitites of opportunity all across our region. All attending entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to be featured in the Venture Local program, helping to ensure you get the connections to peers, investors, and other resources that you need to succeed. Additionally, up to seven entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to pitch their business or big idea to the Venture Local audience and a panel of funders.

Join Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council for Venture Local 2012, an event focused on local, sustainable and social entrepreneurship opportunities across Western North Carolina. From food to fiber, energy to technology, and beyond, the WNC region is making great strides in cultivating thriving local businesses that create quality jobs.

Based on last year’s excellent feedback, this year’s Venture Local will be an all day event.  We’ll dig deeper into new ways to finance companies, we’ll hear the latest market research on emerging supply chain opportunieis, and, of course, we’ll have several presentations from emerging entrepreneurs in these sectors.  Additionally, there will be ample networking opportunities to connect with the peers, investors and resources you need to succeed.

Join us Friday December 7, 8am-6:30pm at the Renaissance Asheville Hotel (8am-5pm program followed by a 5-6:30pm farm-to-table networking reception).



The 2012 schedule:

8:00 – 8:30 Registration

8:30 – 9:00 Welcome and Overview

9:00 – 10:10 Morning Keynote with Michael Shuman, Cutting Edge Capital

10:10 – 10:30 Networking Break

10:30 – 12:00 Connecting Sustainable Industries: Industry cluster roundtable discussions
From local food to renewable energy to outdoor products, WNC is becoming a distinctive home for innovation and success in several sustainable agriculture and natural resource-based industries. These concurrent breakout sessions will aim to bring these sectors together and have a highly interactive discussion around emerging opportunities, industry barriers, ways to increase sector investment, and other key topics. The cluster discussions include:
Clean Energy
Discussion leaders: Jon Snover, Global Institute for Sustainabile Technology at A-B Tech; Patrick Harper, EvolveEnergy Partnership, Land-of-Sky Regional Council
Craft Brewing & Distilling
Discussion leaders: Brett Taubman, Appalachian State University; Andrew Dahm, French Broad Brewery (invited)
Ecotourism & Agritourism
Discussion leaders: Jamie Ager, Hickory Nut Gap Farm; Carol Kline, Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University; Matt Bateman, Stay and Play in the Smokies
Discussion leaders: Judi Jetson, Handmade in America; Molly Hemstreet, Opportunity Threads; Julie Jensen, Echoview Fiber Mill
Discussion leaders: Michael Shuman, Cutting Edge Capital; Carol Peppe Hewitt, Slow Money NC; Shaw Canale, Mountain BizWorks; Special Guest Presentation: SaraDay Evans, Prosperity Collective
Forest Products
Discussion leaders: Brian Boggs, Boggs Collective; Lang Hornthal, Appalachian Designs; Alyx Perry, Southern Forest Network
Local Food & Food Products
Discussion leaders: Charlie Jackson, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project; Mary Lou Surgi, Blue Ridge Food Ventures; Special Guest Presentation: Smithson Mills, Smithson Mills Inc.
Natural Products
Discussion leaders: Chris Reedy, Blue Ridge Food Ventures; Sarah Schober, BioBusiness Center; Greg Cumberford, Bent Creek Institute
Outdoor Products
Discussion leaders: Becky Anderson, Mitchell County Economic Development Commission; Shane Cooper, DeFeet International (invited)

12:00 – 1:30 Locally sourced Lunch & Keynote with Martin Eakes, Self-Help Credit Union

1:30 – 1:45 Networking Break

1:45 – 3:45 Big Ideas: Pitches from seven WNC entrepreneurs and rapid responses from a panel of funders

1:45 – 1:55: Welcome and Overview of Accelerating Appalachia: Sara Day Evans, Prosperity Collective

1:55 – 2:05: James Watson, Village Capital Atlanta

2:05 – 3:45: ‘Big Ideas’ Pitch Session (Participating Businesses Below)
Mariano deGuzman, Appalatch Outdoor Apparel Company www.appalatch.com
Brent Manning, Riverbend Malt House www.riverbendmalt.com
Laralyn RiverWind, Native Touch, LLC www.nativetouch.us
Trevor Baker, Noble Cider www.noblecider.com
Anthony Coggiola, Asheville Urban Farms www.ashevilleurbanfarms.com
David Fann, Theraworx www.theraworx.com
Stan Cross, Brightfield Transportation Solutions www.brightfieldts.com

3:40 – 4:00 Networking Break

4:00 – 5:00 Critical Conversation Panels: Concurrent breakout sesssions on topics driving local, social and sustainable entrepreneurship across Western North Carolina
From Slow Money to Venture Capital: Explore Financing Resources for local Entrepreneurs in WNC
Panelists: Shaw Canale, Mountain Bizworks; Carol Peppe Hewitt, Slow Money NC; Jane Hatley, Self Help Credit Union; Peter Krull, Krull & Company; Bruce Roberts, Carolina Financial Group
Made in WNC: Building a successful Manufacturing Company from Prototype to Production
Panelists: Ryan Taylor, Center for Rapid Product Realization at Western Carolina University; Chris McGraw, NC State University Industrial Extension Service ‘Manufactured in NC’; David Kemper, Kemper Strategy (invited)
Ownership Matters: Shared Entrepreneurship through Cooperative Enterprise
Panelists: Kim Stephenson, State Employees Credit Union; Eddie Miller, NC Electric Membership Corporation; Sandi Kronick; Eastern Carolina Organics; Molly Hemstreet, Opportunity Threads (Moderator: Thomas Beckett, Carolina Common Enterprise)
Scaling Local: Technology and Tools to drive Competiveness
Panelists: James Pader, Wood Railing; Ty Hallock, Top Floor Studios; Steve Whitmire, Brasstown Beef; Justin Belleme, JB Media Group (Moderator: Danielle McClennan, Link’d Video)
Small Town Successes: How to grow Local Campaigns in Rural Communities
Panelists: Matthew Bateman, Venture Local Franklin; Judi Jetson, Handmade in America; Katy Allen, Rural Support Partners; Becky Anderson, Mitchell County Certified Entrepreneurial Community Program (Moderator: Emily Breedlove, AdvantageWest)

5:00 – 6:30 Farm-to-Table Networking Reception sponsored by Carolina Mountains Credit Union: the not-to-miss finale to Venture Local featuring craft food, brews and other selections from across Western North Carolina