Despite a long-term decline in manufacturing employment at the national level, Buncombe County has captured top tier advanced manufacturing companies. The region is also home to the National Centers for Environmental Information and a dynamic community of entrepreneurs and innovative startups. Building on this success is a challenge for the community—one that it has been eager to meet.
TIP Strategies worked closely with EDC staff and board members to identify the region’s most promising economic development opportunities. The first step was to establish a common understanding of assets and challenges. Next was to conduct a deep quantitative analysis for Asheville, Buncombe County, and the four-county Asheville metro area, including comparisons to several benchmark regions, to understand how Asheville-Buncombe County compares with other communities. The new plan, AVL 5×5 Vision 2020, built on the original plan’s success and expanded its range. The new plan emphasized discrete niches within established target industries, including strengthening the existing technology base and leveraging the region’s burgeoning craft brewery sector. It also expanded upon entrepreneurship and innovation as a priority for economic development, largely through the EDC’s Venture Asheville program. Finally, a new set of metrics were established to track implementation.