This week Popular Mechanics announced the 14 Best Startup Cities in America. Asheville ranked #2, scoring high for its thriving brewery startups, the Accelerating Appalachia accelerator, Venture Asheville and the Asheville Angels. The iconic magazine on popular technology is read by over 1.2 million people across the U.S. The article comments, “As you make your way past the art galleries and restaurants downtown… you may wish you could move here, which is what so many entrepreneurs have already done.”
#2 Best Startup City: Asheville, North Carolina
January 13, 2015 — Mike Rangel, a pioneer of the craft-brewing industry in Asheville, North Carolina, says it’s a BYOJ city, as in “bring your own job.” People may move here for college or because it’s naturally beautiful and reasonably inexpensive. But they stay for the chance to make a living exactly how they want to. The Blue Ridge Parkway dips into a valley and cuts through town as it peels toward the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As you make your way past the art galleries and restaurants downtown, catching whiffs of pine (and weed), you may wish you could move here, which is what so many entrepreneurs have already done.
Asheville is awash in startup breweries—Wicked Weed (see?), Green Man, and about 20 more. Many are supplied by Riverbend Malt House, which grows and processes local grain. Launched in 2011, it recently secured expansion funding through the Accelerating Appalachia incubator, which backs sustainable agricultural and food startups.
Venture Asheville, a public–private partnership, is the primary business accelerator in town. It’s the headquarters of the Asheville Angels, a network of seasoned executives looking to back startups, and the Venture Asheville Mentors, which pairs established entrepreneurs with new ones. Asheville’s status as a sweet college town and haven for neo-hippies isn’t fading; it’s just changing to reflect the influx of people who see no harm in making a little money.
Check out Popular Mechanics’ full list of America’s Best Startup Cities.