Yancey County - Homegrown Tools

Yancey County, NC

Updated: 2022

Yancey County supports two of its economic development strategies, tourism and business development, by offering Downtown Entrepreneurship Assistance Grants to small business owners.

Median Household Income2020$44,554
Poverty Rate 202014.7%
Proximity to Urban Center 30 miles
Proximity to Interstate Highway I-26 runs through the county
Case Study Time Frame 2018-2022
Municipal Budget FY201769.8 million
Data Source: US Census, American Community Survey
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Burnsville helps small businesses tackle common obstacles by offering grants along with incentives that encourage entrepreneurs to improve their business practices. This program, called the Burnsville Downtown Entrepreneur Assistance Program (DEAP) has helped to spark entrepreneurship and revitalize the historic downtown center.


What are the lessons learned from this story?


Pairing financial incentives with education promotes business sustainability. On average twenty percent of new U.S. businesses fail within the first year. Fifty percent fail within the first five years.25 Yancey County’s Downtown Entrepreneurship Assistance Program Grant is dedicated to curbing that number by incentivizing new business owners to take advantage of available resources. One of the program’s most useful resources is the business course which helps new business owners form long-term strategies for success. Yancey County found that the two most common reasons why businesses fail were 1) not having a business plan and 2) not being able to access capital.26 The business courses that are a part of DEAP aim to promote business plans and demonstrate the value of continued education. The DEAP program hopes that once business owners have completed one course at Mayland Community College they will be more likely to enroll in others.

Investing in one aspect of a local economy can benefit other industries of an economy. Burnsville used the strengths of one aspect of economic development to heighten another. Yancey County’s EDC took advantage of Burnsville’s strong local entrepreneurship to strengthen the town’s tourism. By incentivizing downtown businesses to create in-depth business plans, the EDC is contributing to the longevity of Burnsville’s Main Street. With a lively downtown thanks in large part to DEAP, there is now even more reason to visit Burnsville’s historic and endearing town center, thus strengthening the region’s tourism industry