Asheville’s Economic SWOT

While not a be-all and end-all solution, a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis is a classic strategy tool is often a helpful outline of status. I’ll be adding more to this post, including a preliminary Asheville SWOT analysis. Here’s a few notes about changes in June 2015 to our entrepreneurial ecosystem. I use the term innovation and opportunity ecosystem (IOE).

How our economics work (sustainable or not) is one of the keys to sustainability innovation. While entrepreneurship isn’t the solution to everything, these changes at A-B Tech are disturbing… especially in combination with AdvantageWest shutting down and the premature close of GroWNC.

It’s strange how those who promote the most really don’t. The reason is that the GOP is about gross wealth accumulation and corporatism.

I’ve got to add that this article is saying A-B Tech wants to keep the programs going. It would b helpful if they released even a short online of a plan covering how all this works.

A-B Tech closing Enka campus building
Julie Ball, Citizen-Times, June 23, 2015


More more retail chain store corporations moving in

I worked in the store that used to be where Lexington Avenue Brewery is now, and where the new Anthropologie location is sited for. That was T.S. Morrison & Co., which my parents owned (building too).
I am concerned that whether it’s a chain or having to import the wealth, I don’t think that many locals are growing wealth, i.e. successful businesses. By importing wealth I mean people who’ve lived here ten years or more most likely have the least wealth.
I also have solutions for heading in a new direction by replacing GroWNC and AdvantageWest with a program I call Sustain Asheville. New strategy tools like open innovation are part of Sustain Asheville / Sustain WNC.

Taxes and creating our moral budget

On ‘fiscal conservativism’ that a lot of our supposed progressives bought into, at least in the past, I look forward to pointing out the risky 10:1 ratio of local economy dollars that have to be raised by city hall and other municipalities against the paltry ‘intergovernmental’ (state and Federal) ‘11th dollar’. Or in simplest terms City of Asheville’s intergovernmental revenue are only $15 million our of $160 million.

Reaganonics means more property taxes, city fees, and sales taxes a lot of the time hitting people with little more than what those in relative poverty have. Next, there’s the unfortunate GOP approach to infrastructure, human capital, healthcare, and the environment.


Airbnb and the ‘creative economy’

Sen. Mark Warner is piecing together some new policy questions about the ‘sharing economy’. What’s going on is that Asheville is thinking about managing a multibillion dollar sector. This is one more example of where setting policy and public will. Market choice means, hopefully, responsible action vs. legislation on everything.
Next, issues like Airbnb are market offers to a broken market. People at the base of the economic pyramid are desperately tying to hang on to assets like average homes and run to solutions like Airbnb. And people at the very bottom—usually renters, HUD clients, and those with zero (i.e. homeless)—are not positioned to join this particular market solution.
Sen. Warner leads with employment market solutions like and In Asheville people spend all kinds of resources trying to get any kind of pay and they don’t know what a crappy tradeoff they are getting for a supposedly ‘free, creative meritocracy’.
None of these are solutions that dump big picture macroeconomics like dumping Reaganomics and getting into the many benefits of full blown energy innovation that shift down the cost of living across the board at the base of the economic pyramid. We deserve big solutions that make the market much more of an employee’s market and replaces blighted housing stock thus making the whole US housing market more affordable.

Airbnb isn’t a long-range income generating solution. Dropping the cost of living is.

We are loading in hotels where affordable housing could go… and more higher paying white collar, ‘green collar’, and ’no collar’ jobs to help pay for higher quality housing for each citizen. People in poverty in Asheville have emergency level needs. Increasing net worth by cutting housing costs and increasing SNAP funds while raising the Federal poverty level limits are the big steps.

I agree walkability is an issue, but there’s a range of basic economic equity matters that take higher priority. Putting poverty in the past and folks having funds to engage with these downtown amenities is part of the way to make Asheville more inclusive.

That’s different than continually raising property values and taxes. Policies with direct benefit to those currently at the base of the economic pyramid puts more cash in everyone’s pockets from the bottom to the middle of the economic ladder.

Posted in Asheville, Poverty Innovation.