To be honest, marketing is not my favorite subject. And it was unfair to Katie, I know, but I came to the interview expecting a conversation about markets and ratios and target populations. With a comfortable ease, Katie immediately drew me into her vision of what marketing really is. She has an innate enthusiasm for what she does and it became immediately clear that she’s done her homework and she knows what she’s talking about.
In March of 2012, I had the privilege of attending a free community panel on “Funding Your Small Business,” jointly hosted by the Asheville Minority Business Program and Mountain Bizworks. It was at this informative gathering that I met Jane Hatley, WNC Regional Director for Self-Help Credit Union. She brought a wealth of valuable information, perfectly balanced between enthusiastic support for and the stark reality of starting a small business.
Though some of us may be aspiring to build global empires, many of us have set our sights on small businesses couched cosily within the context of our local communities. With this local focus in mind, I took the opportunity to explore small business funding in a bit more depth with Jane. Below is a short video of Jane in her own words followed by a summary of our entire interview.
DeWayne Barton is co-founder and co-director of Green Opportunities, an Asheville-based, community-based development organization dedicated to improving lives, communities and the health of the planet through innovative green collar job training and placement programs.
DeWayne had been active in his community for years, working with area youth to develop and tend community gardens, clear sidewalks, and do landscaping projects along neighborhood streets. One afternoon he stopped by the offices of the Green Building Council to explore opportunities for area youth in the green building field. Though they didn’t have any programs available, they knew of someone else in the community with similar interests. DeWayne was introduced to Dan Leroy and Green Opportunities was born.
When Jolene and her husband inherited the Phil Mechanic building from her husband’s late father, they had options. The old, industrial-style, 4-storey brick building sits in the heart of Asheville’s River Arts District. They went back and forth about whether to take advantage of the building’s industrial qualities or become a part of the thriving arts culture around them. In the end they did both.