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Ignite Asheville Spotlights Rising Startups

ASHEVILLE NC – Grow a startup, but make it quick. That’s the new theme of this year’s Ignite Asheville Big Idea Competition on Thursday, May 15 from 3 – 5 p.m. at The Orange Peel, hosted by Venture Asheville and the Economic Development Coalition Asheville-Buncombe County. Tickets are for sale only at www.igniteavl.org.

Asheville’s growing scene of creative entrepreneurs has pushed an event that started with a focus on interesting ideas and passions to now dig deeper—in just five-minute lightning rounds.

Hear from ten bright minds that transformed their big ideas into extraordinary startup products and services in technology, clothing, sustainability-centered innovations and more. They’ll share insights about each of their unique ventures and how they’ve embraced challenges through ingenuity and collaboration.

This star-studded lineup of high-impact, early stage start-ups includes:

  • Mariano deGuzman of Appalatch, an outdoor apparel company utilizing technology similar to 3D printing to create custom fit clothing.
  • Michael Shore of BarberWind Turbines, which is inventing groundbreaking wind technology to build more cost-effective, productive, and transportable commercial-scale wind turbines.
  • Jackson Anderson of Blue Blaze Soda & Syrup Co., which produces all-natural soda syrups by hand at Blue Ridge Food Ventures.
  • Annika Schauer of HotWax Websites, a software as a service (SaaS) provider that allows designers to build professional-quality websites in a single day to exact client specifications–95% painless, 100% code-free.
  • Sarah Benoit of JB Media Institute, a cutting-edge, comprehensive, in-person training program for online marketing.
  • Angela Newnam of Knock out!, whose Smart Panties are eradicating panty failures using patented technology in luxury cotton underwear to protect you from wetness and odor all day, every day.
  • Clark Harris of LoLo, a free and effortless local loyalty movement that enables members to earn 5% in rewards on every dollar spent at local businesses.
  • Jesse Lee of Outrider USA, which builds ultralight recumbent tricycles that are setting records for speed and distance across the U.S. and are adaptable for physically disabled riders.
  • Marty Bauer of The Iron Yard, which will open a Green Tech Accelerator in Asheville to stimulate startup green tech consumer apps and clean tech enterprise software and hardware developers.
  • Ty Hallock of Trusted Sharing, an app-based social tool that enables individuals and user groups to tune into the people and topics they care about most with deeper, more valuable conversations.

Don’t miss this fast-paced, high-energy afternoon at the Ignite Asheville Big Idea Competition, presented by the Asheville Citizen-Times. Space is limited. Cost is only $8 for Asheville Chamber members, $10 for non-members. Attendees must reserve their tickets at www.igniteavl.org.

     Ignite Asheville is sponsored by the Asheville Citizen-Times Publishing Company, The Orange Peel, Printville, Rely Local Asheville, Alt Media Productions, WNCW Public Radio, io design & illustration, inc., ERC Broadband, Flat Shadow Productions, Ask Asheville, and FastSigns. The event is in collaboration with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies will be Josh Dorfman, Director of Entrepreneurship Development for Venture Asheville, who has over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur in green and start-up companies. Dorfman is known as the Lazy Environmentalist, for which he hosted and produced a daily radio show on SiriusXM and an award-winning reality television series on Sundance Channel.

     Venture Asheville catalyzes strategic, high-growth entrepreneurship in the Asheville, N.C. area. It merges creativity with connectivity to help local start-ups grow by providing access to seasoned talent, experienced mentors, and engaged investors. Venture Asheville’s mission is to facilitate networking, educational events, and access to community resources that foster a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem and stimulate economic development. Contact Venture Asheville at (828) 258-6137 or [email protected].

     The Economic Development Coalition for Asheville-Buncombe County (EDC) is a public-private partnership committed to: creating and retaining high quality jobs, community leadership, and being a resource for better business decisions.  The EDC accomplishes this mission through its four core services: business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneurship, research, and marketing and recruitment.  The EDC is funded by Buncombe County, the City of Asheville, the Town of Weaverville, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce and the AVL 5×5 Campaign. Visit www.EconomicDevelopmentAsheville.org.

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