Hatching Asheville Startups

& Nurturing Our Entrepreneurial Spirits
Asheville has a long history of being an entrepreneur-driven economy. It was perhaps reinforced during the city’s challenging financial straights from 1930 until 1977, when the city and county were both burdened with massive debt following the collapse of the Central Bank and Trust Company. With the banks failure, 60% of Buncombe County’s holdings were wiped out. Rather than accepting bankruptcy however, all bonds were paid in full and creditors were made whole.

The perseverance and ultimate success of the city through those tough years no doubt contributed to the entrepreneurial spirit of our community. According to the Asheville Chamber of Commerce, 96% of establishments in the metro area are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. So where do we go from here? How do we embrace and nurture this desire to create new businesses, goods and services, while preserving what makes Asheville uniquely Asheville?

On the high-growth end of the entrepreneurial spectrum, Hatch AVL Foundation was established specifically to support startups. Startups are defined as having the potential to scale and reach outside markets. By focusing on this segment of scalable businesses, Hatch aims to support the Asheville economy by creating local jobs and tapping revenue beyond our market.
Caption: Hatch AVL President, George Glackin (left), pictured with Mayor Esther Manheimer and Hatch Member and Anthroware Product Owner, Jeffrey Kaplan, receiving the signed proclamation.
Launched in 2016, Hatch is a fresh approach to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem. It accelerates new venture learning by co-locating high growth potential startups under one roof. At Hatch, member companies can learn from each other every day. Talent, training, and resources come to them rather than chasing what they need. The Hatch campus also houses a rich mix of amenities onsite, such as Hopey & Co, a grocery and coffee bar, Little Bee Thai Cafe, and the Grail Moviehouse. The Hatch campus features a redundant gigabit fiber Internet connection and there are several shared conference spaces, a common lounge, and kitchen onsite.

“Hatch is a learning lab for the best that Asheville has to offer. It’s an incubator and an accelerator to help Asheville headquartered, high growth potential startups achieve their dreams faster and more successfully than they could have by going it alone,” says President of Hatch AVL, George Glackin. ”We seek to foster a startup culture consistent with that of the City of Asheville, one that is welcoming to entrepreneurs and celebrates paying it forward.”

Presently, 20% of the startup residents at Hatch are women-owned and run. Reflecting the diversity of ideas, talents, and demographics in the community is an important aspect of creating a thriving environment within Hatch, and in the broader Asheville startup ecosystem. Compared to the nation-wide statistic that only 5% of startups are owned by women, Hatch is far ahead of the curve.

Supporting Hatch AVL Foundation’s Mission

Hatch builds off three core competencies to further its mission to support high-growth potential startups.


The Place is the physical space these companies inhabit, to connect and collaborate. By locating these startups under one roof in downtown Asheville with communal amenities, kitchen, and conference space, peer networks naturally form through advice, tips, and support.


Providing a structured way to learn together, solve tough problems, or even build a business in a weekend, enriches each business. As an example, they hold monthly Hatch Salons, modeled after TED Salons, that encourage each entrepreneur to discuss challenges, build teams, and even dive into tactical items like pricing strategy.


In an effort to expand Hatch’s reach, and bring new faces into the fold, Hatch’s Partnerships are built around common interests. These can be industry-based like outdoors, climate-tech, biotech, or Healthcare, and they can also be amongst companies, startups, big companies, universities, and the government. Having the credibility of Hatch behind these companies gives them an advantage in the marketplace.

Finding and funding new businesses
This November 3-5, the foundation is hosting Hatch This, a weekend-long competition where teams come in with new business ideas, turn those ideas into business models, refine the models with the aid of expert mentors, and then compete for over $15,000 in seed money and prizes.
Hatch This is going to be a super exciting, high-energy learning opportunity for everyone involved. It will also be the springboard for more than one new business in our local market. Dig Local (https://www.diglocal.com) won the 2015 weekend competition, and is still thriving and expanding in Asheville and beyond.

Who should attend Hatch This and what to expect?
Women, men, coders, designer, artists, students, inventors, strategist, marketers – everyone is welcome to participate. Attendees should come ready to pitch a business idea or ready to offer your skills and join a team. Once teams form, the real work begins: build a prototype, get real user feedback, pitch your concept to real investors, and win prizes.
The sponsors of Hatch This, making the entire event possible, include The Van Winkle Law Firm, Wicked Weed Brewing, Spengler & Agans PLLC, Leah B. Noel, CPA, PC, Platinum Group, and Anthroware.

Hatch This

When: November 3-5
Where: 45 S. French Broad, Asheville NC

Written by WNC Woman