Photo credit: Glenda McCarson
Various community members cheer for Heart of Brevard, which was honored with the “Best Economic Recovery Initiative” award by North Carolina Main Street via the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Heart of Brevard, a local downtown vitalization organization, won the award for its work with the Transylvania Tomorrow Small Business Emergency Relief Fund, an initiative launched in 2020.
Successful fundraising and grant distribution efforts of the Blue Ridge Community College Small Business Center (SBC) contributed to the Heart of Brevard winning the “Best Economic Recovery Initiative” award given on March 9 by North Carolina Main Street via the North Carolina Dept. of Commerce. The Heart of Brevard, a local downtown vitalization organization, won the award for its work with the Transylvania Tomorrow Small Business Emergency Relief Fund, an initiative launched in 2020.
“Transylvania Tomorrow’s success is really a story of our community coming together to support each other during unprecedented and challenging times,” said Ben Smith, Blue Ridge SBC director. “Thanks to a quick response, the members of the Transylvania Business Support Task Force, Transylvania Tomorrow provided critical resources, information, and financing to struggling businesses during the initial wave of COVID-19 chaos and beyond.”
Transylvania Tomorrow is an initiative of the Transylvania Business Support Task Force, which is made up of the Heart of Brevard, Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce, Transylvania County Tourism, Transylvania Economic Alliance, and the Blue Ridge Small Business Center. During the early months and height of the pandemic, the initiative successfully funded 111 small businesses struggling to keep their doors open. A total of $249,250 was awarded to those businesses in critical need in the form of individual grants of up to $3,000.
Smith added, “While we’re not surprised, we are thrilled to see Heart of Brevard receive this award from the NC Department of Commerce as it recognizes the hard work and impact made by such a special organization and community partnership.”
The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center works in regions, counties, cities, towns, downtown districts, and in designated North Carolina Main Street communities, to inspire placemaking through building asset-based economic development strategies that achieve measurable results such as investment, business growth, and jobs.
A panel of judges chose this year’s award winners from more than 35 nominations submitted by Main Street and Small Town Main Street communities statewide.
The Blue Ridge Community College SBC is part of the Small Business Center Network, comprised of 58 Small Business Centers throughout North Carolina that support the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by being a community-based provider of training, counseling, and resource information.