Mountain BizWorks hires new rural entrepreneurship director

Feb 11, 2013
Jo Ann Miska-Blackwell

Mountain BizWorks has created a new position, reflecting its commitment to helping rural small businesses in western North Carolina start, grow and create jobs. Long-time employee Jo Ann Miksa-Blackwell has been selected to fill the role of director of rural entrepreneurship.

“It is with trust and confidence that we have brought Jo Ann into this new position,” said Shaw Canale, Mountain BizWorks CEO. “We are committed to helping small businesses in rural areas, including those working within the agriculture industry and food system. Jo Ann is a natural fit for this important work.”

Miksa-Blackwell has been employed by Mountain BizWorks for more than a decade, and in that time has served in a variety of capacities, from managing programs to working directly with small business owners. She holds a master of entrepreneurship degree from Western Carolina University.

In her role as director of rural entrepreneurship, Miksa-Blackwell will lead Mountain BizWorks’ efforts to support rural communities by building sturdy partnerships and delivering customized classes and coaching to rural small business owners.

Mountain BizWorks will offer a Foundations business-planning course beginning March 7 in Waynesville. This session leads clients through an eight-week business planning course that helps entrepreneurs evaluate and estimate start-up and overhead costs, determine profit goals, project cash flow, develop marketing plans, and learn about necessary licensing and record keeping. Additional material is provided for those in agriculture enterprises.

Registration is now open for the eight-week course from 6-9 p.m. March 7 at Oak Park Inn, 196 South Main Street in Waynesville. Fees are based on a sliding scale. For more information or to register, contact Ashley Epling at 828-253-2834, ext. 27,, or course Facilitator John Woods 828-551-2095,

For a full schedule of upcoming courses and events throughout Western NC, visit

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