The counties in our service area are: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.
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.
The WWBC 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.
Jobs created and retained
One-on-one coaching clients
Clients attending training and events
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.
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.
For over a decade, Tara Jeanne Brown has worked through nonprofits and government to build opportunity for people left behind economically. A native of West Virginia, Tara now lives in Asheville, NC where she serves as Associate Director of the Western Women’s Business Center. Prior to this, Tara developed financial empowerment programming for the City of New York, where she worked across city agencies to support new immigrants, job seekers, entrepreneurs, public housing residents, and many other New Yorkers through one-on-one financial counseling services. Prior to this role, she worked for Richard Cordray, who served as the first Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director, while he was Ohio Attorney General and Ohio Treasurer. At the Ohio Treasurer’s Office, Tara established a savings incentive program and revitalized a small business lending program, both funded through the Ohio Treasury’s linked deposit fund. At the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Tara also established programs to support small businesses. Tara holds a Masters of Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University and a B.A. in Political Science from Trinity College in Hartford, CT.
Client Intake Specialist
Laura Ford serves as a Client Intake Specialist at the Western Women’s Business Center, a program of Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF). Laura is the first point of contact for our community partners and small business clients. Her responsibilities include business coaching, coordinating / facilitating workshops, networking, grant writing, compliance reporting and overall client portfolio support. 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 includingRon 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.
Business Operations Assistant
Vanesa Garcia serves as the Business Operations Assistant. In this role, she provides program and client support to the Western Women’s Business Center and CSBDF’s Business Solution team including loan portfolio management. Her responsibilities include loan portfolio management, technical assistance / training for small businesses, and marketing and outreach. Vanesa started her career with CSBDF as the Latino Program Intern. Currently, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in corporate accounting and financial analysis at Johnson & Wales University.
Thank you so much to the generous funders of the Western Women’s Business Center who make our work possible.