Cluster-based strategies for economic development have gained popularity in the U.S., Asia, and Europe for the last decade. These strategies identify high-growth and high-potential areas in which an organization might attract and promote investment. The Asheville Economic Development decided on five key growth areas: Advanced Manufacturing, Science and Technology, Knowledge Based Entrepreneurship, Arts and Culture, and Healthcare. Local businesses, higher education, and the community at large have cultivated these sectors in Asheville.

 

Advanced Manufacturing

Western North Carolina has long been known for its craftsmanship and this tradition continues with a thriving advanced manufacturing industry. This creative-quality driven culture is evident in Asheville's manufacturing community today where well-over 300 companies manufacture products in the four-county Asheville Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Science and Technology

 The frontier ethic of innovation and collaboration that accompanied early pioneers to the Asheville area is alive today in the region's burgeoning science and high tech sector, making the city a top choice for companies involved in cloud computing, data management, geo-spatial visualization, and climate science.  Continuing improvements in broadband infrastructure, colleges, and business-friendly technical schools have proven key elements for new or expanding companies that require a highly trained and nimble workforce.

Knowledge-based Entrepreneurship

Knowledge-based entrepreneurs complement all other industry clusters by offering a range of services--from finance and insurance to professional and technical services.  These high growth companies comprise approximately 6.3 percent of all industry employment in the Asheville Metro area. 

Arts and Culture

One of Asheville's most distinct and deeply-rooted assets is the arts.  With an arts culture comes a creative independence and a desire to share and collaborate that not only nurtures the arts community, but can be beneficial for business of all types. 

Health Care

Still a destination for rejuvenation and nationally recognized for delivering exceptional care, healthcare is a driving force in the Asheville area's business landscape.  It is the largest industry in terms of employment with a diverse range of organizations--from traditional to alternative to commercial--all of which add strength to the region's economy.