Social enterprise plans under way in Asheville

Dale Neal
Asheville Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE — Social entrepreneurs are the business types who don’t worry what can go wrong with their business plans, but ask “why not?”

That’s how Michael Wilkerson, a Stanford University graduate and Rhodes Scholar, explained how he started his own for-profit business in Uganda, making loans to motorcycle taxi drivers to pay for their own cycles and make more money for their families.

What’s happening in Uganda is happening as well in Asheville, Wilkerson said Monday at the Masonic Temple in downtown Asheville. About 170 local entrepreneurs, investors and others attended VentureAsheville’s first networking event aimed at businesses that focus on social benefits as well as profits.

VentureAsheville is the Asheville Chamber of Commerce’s initiative to support entrepreneurs of all sorts, but Pam Lewis, the chamber’s director of entrepreneurship, said social enterprise is a natural fit for Asheville.

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