About Us

The Western Women's Business Center meets the needs of women entrepreneurs through one-on-one business coaching, workshops, and access to capital. Our team of experts offer support on a range of topics small businesses need to start and grow.

We are a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund, a statewide nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to foster economic development in the state of North Carolina. 



The counties in our service area are:  Alexander,  Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.

Our Impact
Since 2014, the Western Women’s Business Center has served as a catalyst for the success of women entrepreneurs in the mountain region.
We are proud to have supported thousands of businesses in Western North Carolina.


Jobs created and retained


Businesses started


clients accessed


in capital


Clients attending training and events


One-on-one coaching clients


Our team brings a high level of expertise, professionalism, and engagement with entrepreneurs across the region. Our knowledge and passion is reflected in all of the services we offer.

Our Team

Zurilma Anuel*



Zurilma Anuel serves as Director of the Western Women's Business Center. In that role she oversees the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of the center, which seeks to promote entrepreneurship in the western region of North Carolina. She was previously Director of CSBDF's Latino Program. Prior her career at CSBDF, Zuri was Latino Program coordinator for Mountain BizWorks and worked for over a decade as a personal banker at Wells Fargo. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Commercial and Financial Administration from the Central University of Caracas and certificates in economic development finance and business credit analysis.

*Hablo Español



Laura Ford

Senior Program Associate


Laura Ford serves as the Senior Program Associate at the Western Women’s Business Center, a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF). Her responsibilities include developing marketing content for our workshops, supporting program planning and coordinating / facilitating workshops. Prior to joining CSBDF, Laura worked as the Executive Assistant for the Motion Picture & Television Writers Pension and Health Fund in Burbank, CA and held several positions as a sales/project manager for various companies within the construction industry including Ron Moser Homes, Inc. During this time, she worked closely with the City of Asheville to secure low interest loan opportunities for the construction of low-income affordable housing. Laura holds a Legal Assistant Certification for CEI College in Los Angeles, CA.


Amy Cervantez

Program Associate


Amy Cervantez serves as the Program Associate at the Western Women's Business Center, a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF). Her responsibilities include providing support to all WWBC programming and coordinating 1:1 coaching sessions between clients and coaches. She is originally from the Littleton Colorado area. She moved here to Asheville to bring her 501C3 TheAngelKLoveProject.org to life. Amy and her wife wanted to help children with trauma and foster children by providing holistic therapies and equine therapies. She also owns a business that is Woman-owned, Minority-owned, and LGBTQ-owned, Leave Your Mark Promo LLC. So she has first-hand experience understanding how important small business is to our economy and the American dream.  


Vania Ramos Ponce

Bilingual Business Lending Consultant


Vania Ramos Ponce previously worked for Prospera-USA, a nonprofit organization that provides business education and support to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs, as a business development consultant and was responsible for running the office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Prior to moving to the U.S., she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting and auditing, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in political economy of development at the University of Puebla in Puebla, Mexico. She is certified as a financial modeling and valuation analyst by the Corporate Finance Institute. She has eight years of entrepreneurial experience in Mexico and worked in the private sector as an accountant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Schaeffler Group and Schnellecke Logistics in Mexico and for Robert Half International, and Paccar in Seattle, Washington. 


Emily Blevins

Marketing & Communications Director


Emily Blevins serves as Marketing & Communications Director for Carolina Small Business Development Fund and its associated programs, including the Western Women's Business Center. Prior to joining CSBDF, she served as the communications manager for the NC Rural Center, where she supported the marketing and communications efforts of its leadership development, community engagement, advocacy, and small business lending programs. 


Our Supporters

Thank you so much to the generous funders of the Western Women’s Business Center who make our work possible.

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Our Services

Our services are open to all entrepreneurs in the 22 counties of Western North Carolina.


View our open positions.