Asheville-Buncombe County Adopts New Strategic Plan

January 19, 1999

By: John Karras, Senior Consultant, TIP Strategies


Asheville, NC by Michael Tracey via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.00

TIP recently completed a strategic plan for the Asheville-Buncombe County Economic Development Coalition (EDC), the organization that leads the charge in growing the local economy. The Asheville region’s undeniable “buzz” has made it a national draw and an exciting location for businesses and entrepreneurs. Building on this success is the primary challenge for the EDC as it transitions beyond its original AVL 5×5 plan, which set a high bar by creating creating nearly 3,000 new direct jobs and attracting more than $1 billion in new capital investment. To address this challenge, TIP worked closely with EDC staff and board members to evaluate the region’s most promising opportunities for economic development.

The new plan, AVL 5×5: Vision 2020, is a bold roadmap based on input from the community stakeholders and lessons from successful communities across the US. Its primary focus is on core areas—those where the EDC has the greatest potential to effect positive change—beginning with the traditional areas of industry‐specific business retention, expansion, and recruitment. With that focus in mind, a set of eight new target industries for the region are profiled. The plan also continues and expands on entrepreneurship and innovation as a priority for the EDC. And lastly, the plan introduces a new concentration on talent attraction and development.

The largest risk to the region is not a decline in jobs or economic activity, but a failure to capitalize on new opportunities for economic development. With the commitment and leadership of the EDC and the business community, there is every reason to believe Asheville-Buncombe County will be on a trajectory for long-term prosperity. Thank you to the Mike Cronin from the Asheville Citizen-Times and Hayley Benton from Mountain Xpress for their thoughtful coverage of the new plan.