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News Macon achieves special entrepreneurial designation through AdvantageWest

Rumors of corporate prospects remain unconfirmed

After a process that has taken years, Macon County has finally achieved the designation of Certified Entrepreneurial Community (CEC) through an AdvantageWest program. Achieving the certification has been a main goal of the county’s Economic Development Commission and of EDC director Trevor Dalton since he was appointed to the position almost a year and a half ago.

AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, a non-profit organization commissioned by the North Carolina General Assembly to promote economic development in the 23-county region of Western North Carolina, established the CEC program to encourage and support entrepreneurship in communities while also improving the business climate for existing companies.


The CEC designation was made official at the Feb. 17 meeting of the AdvantageWest board of directors at which Dalton presented a portfolio of materials and research which the EDC developed for the program. The certification will be announced to business leaders in the community at Macon County’s Annual Enterprise Banquet to be held on Thursday, Feb. 24, in the cafeteria at Mountain View Intermediate School.

Dalton noted that a lot of work had gone into achieving the certification, adding that he was happy to have it finalized but was already working on numerous other projects for the EDC.

“It’s something the EDC has worked on for quite a while,” said EDC Chairman Ed Shatley, who praised Dalton for his work in bringing the effort to fruition. “We’re very pleased to have it finalized.”

Shatley added that acceptance into the entrepreneurship program marks a start for the county and will give it more access and more resources to apply for economic development in the future. “More than the culmination of things, the CEC designation is just the beginning of something,” he said.

“It gives us some opportunity to work with the Department of Commerce and with AdvantageWest in prospects that they might have to send this way,” Shatley explained, referring to companies which may be interested in locating facilities in the county. “It also brings a lot of advantages to businesses wanting to start up a business here in Macon County and gives us the ability to point them in the right direction for permits, funding, loans and all the other things it takes for an entrepreneur to start.”

Shatley also commented that the CEC designation could be used to promote the Business Development Center, a “business incubator” facility located in the Macon County Industrial Park which is intended to provide low-overhead commercial space for business start-ups in the county.

Corporate prospect rumors?

Over the past two months, both the EDC and the Macon County Board of Commissioners have met in executive session to discuss potential prospects for companies considering relocating or establishing facilities in the county. Dalton said he could not confirm or deny any of the rumors which have been circulating in the county but added that he hopes he will be able to make an announcement sometime in the coming months.

Dalton said that the EDC is not allowed to comment on active prospects which involve private companies considering setting up in the county. “Everything is in their court and based on their timeline,” he explained.

According to sources, at least two prospects are actively looking at the county as a possible site for establishing facilities which could potentially bring hundreds of jobs to the area. One rumor has it that a manufacturer of pet food is one of the prospects looking at the county. However, Dalton warned that rumors, like the game called “telephone,” often lead to exaggerations.

Shatley also declined to comment on the prospects.

Annual Enterprise Banquet

The Annual Enterprise Banquet will be held Thursday, Feb. 24, in the cafeteria of the Mountain Valley Intermediate School. The annual banquet sponsored by the EDC is held in appreciation of local business owners. At this year’s event, Meredith Elliott Powell of Motion First will be the featured speaker. According to Dalton, Powell is consultant, speaker and “business power coach.” For more information, call Dalton at (828)369-2306.


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