Where We’re Going

The Plan

The City of Asheville’s approach starts by recognizing that the disparities we see today result from overtly racist and sexist policies in the past. These past policies combined with present-day policies and procedures actively perpetuate disparities, even though today’s policies are not overtly racist or sexist. Addressing the combined impact of these factors requires both internal and external work and, importantly, will take sustained effort over time.

The 2019-2020 fiscal year was the first year of operation of the newly renamed and reorganized Asheville Business Inclusion Office following the disparity study of 2018. The Office started following this plan starting July 1, 2019. Highlights of the plan include:

  • Development of a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification and an associated Shelter Market program.  Modeled after a Charlotte program, this allows the City to make some opportunities available only to certified businesses, giving smaller developing businesses a chance to build capacity and establish themselves.
  • Make the Business Inclusion Program race- and gender-conscious. This more targeted approach can help us better address existing disparities and break down some of the barriers that these business owners face.
  • Create additional targeted training opportunities that complement existing programs. A targeted approach can provide training that directly addresses the challenges faced by African-American business owners.
  • Implement a direct loan program for SBE certified businesses. People of color and women face higher-than-average barriers in gaining access to capital. This program will use awarded City contracts as collateral to ease access to capital and speed processing of the loans.
  • Implement internal technology and process changes. While not part of the formal plan, significant changes are needed to change systems and processes that perpetuate racial and gender disparities, as well as to support data collection and reporting.

Related Services

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MWSBE Certification

Find information to register for certification as a Minority, Woman, and/or Small Business Enterprise (MWSBE) with the City of Asheville.

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Business Inclusion

The Business Inclusion Office for the City of Asheville actively seeks to identify minority and women-owned businesses for an opportunity to participate as providers of goods and services to the city.

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Find cold weather emergency shelter

When extreme cold weather is expected, the Asheville Homeless Coalition issues a Code Purple Alert. Participating homeless shelters voluntarily add space beyond their normal capacity to keep as many people as possible out of the cold. To find out when Code Purple is in effect, visit the Homeless Coalition’s Code [...]

Where We're Going News

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City of Asheville hosts business training

This April, the City of Asheville Business Inclusion Office will conduct three free training sessions to help local businesses learn how to work on local government contracts. These training sessions will be facilitated by the A-B Tech Small Business Center and take place from April 13-15.    Training 1: Is Doing Business with Government Right for My [...]

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Asheville Community and Economic Development to host neighborhood meetings in the spring

  In March, City of Asheville staff will once again engage neighborhoods in the development of three small neighborhood lots on West Chestnut Street, Lufty Avenue, and Kentucky Drive for affordable housing.     Several weeks ago, finalists were named for the Neighborhood Lots for Affordable Housing Request for Proposals (RFP) process to develop the lots. The finalists are [...]

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Dogwood Health Trust donation designated to help Asheville’s homeless community  

  The City of Asheville will use funding support from Dogwood Health Trust to support people experiencing homelessness. At their Feb. 23 meeting, City Council voted to add the $50,000 donation for Code Purple shelter funding. Code Purple is a longstanding practice where homeless shelter providers exceed regular capacity and waive regular rules on nights when the [...]