The ideal business environment for companies built on the natural environment.
With a global biodiversity hot-spot, a mild climate, and a culture of active and healthy lifestyles, Western North Carolina is a wellspring for natural products industry. Given these factors and a strong set of natural products business supporting assets, the region has a vibrant and growing natural products sector ranging from plant-based medicines and supplements to natural personal care products. With a strong integrative health movement that includes 2% of the nation’s licensed alternative medical practitioners, the region is also a rich habitat for the commercialization of natural products.
Whether you’re starting a new natural products business, expanding an existing business, or relocating to gain a competitive advantage, WNC has the resources to help you succeed. A summary of the region’s natural products assets follows. To learn more about any of these programs or how WNC can help your natural products company thrive, please contact us.
Explore the many resources to help grow your natural products businesses
WNC is home to the nation’s only shared use natural products manufacturing facility and incubator, perfect for helping new and small companies get a jump start on success. Through affordable access to commonly needed equipment, this GMP-compliant facility will lower your start-up costs to let you focus more of your capital on reaching customers and product development. Facility tenants also have access to market and product expertise as well as lab testing equipment.
The BioNetwork BioBusiness Center, located at AB Technical Community College, is a unit of the NC Community College system squarely focused on serving the workforce development needs of biotechnology industries including natural biotechnology and biofuels among others.
The biodiversity, soils and climate of WNC lead to superior quality and strength of the medicinal herbs grown here. The Natural Products Lab is available for regional companies to help test and ensure this quality as they develop and commercialize new products.
In addition to traditional debt and private equity sources, Western North Carolina companies have access to the Natural Capital Investment Fund, which specializes in companies creating value from the natural resources of our region. NCIF also has a sister fund, the Shade Fund that is focused on forest based ventures, and the Self-Help Credit Union has a green business focused fund as well..
Combining traditional knowledge of medicinal plants with validated science, BCI develops new intellectual property leading to proprietary products for new business creation, existing business expansion and improved profitability, and the attraction of natural product and botanical medicine manufacturing companies. The related Bent Creek Germplasm Repository, housed at the NC Arboretum, is the first comprehensive North American genebank for medicinal flora and is an important asset in the development of natural products.
Growers and wild-harvesters in WNC are supported by the NCSU Cooperative Extension Service. In addition to having consulting agents in every county, NCSU maintains a WNC-based Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River that continually works to improve production practices and cultivars. NCSU also operates a new Mountain Organic Research and Extension Unit on the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville to provide university led research and extension program to support organic farmers in Western North Carolina.
With more than a million acres of WNC forest lands under management, the Forest Service is a major contributor to the timber and non-timber forest products industries. To learn how these public lands can serve your business, contact the Southern Research Station based in Asheville.
Nothing seems to support business success more than being surrounded by similar companies. WNC is home to an active and growing network of medicinal herbs, natural products and natural biotechnology companies including Gaia Herbs, King Bio, Golden Needle, Sanesco, Ancient Sun, Genova Diagnostics, and many more.
With offices in Asheville, Boone, and Cullowhee, the SBTDC is available to help WNC natural products businesses hone their business models, refine their market targeting, and assist with other business concerns. SBTDC services are mostly free of charge and provided via the UNC university system.
Headquartered in WNC, the NCNPA works to further NC’s role as a key supplier of premium plant-based natural medicines, organic products, functional foods, personal care products, and healthy lifestyle options.
Available sites and buildings ideal for natural products manufacturing are readily available, featuring large volumes of water availability, easy access to major markets, and local support. To learn more about the advantages available to natural products businesses in WNC, contact us.