Jim Roberts

Named one of the “40 Most Influential People Under 40” by the Charlotte Business Journal at age of 30, Jim has experience with business development, life sciences, information technology and governmental agencies.  He started an entrepreneur council in Charlotte called FirstRound during the technology boom in 2000. He was then recruited to the Asheville region to start the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC) and Blue Ridge Angel Investor Network (BRAIN) where he hosted the annual Carolina Connect Entrepreneur and Venture Capital Conference. He also served as the Director of Business Development at the Center of Innovation for NanoBiotechnology (COIN), a program of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center); and as a Business Development Manager for the International Trade Division of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
Roberts graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising.

Jim Roberts

Jim Roberts

Ben Filippo- Food Systems Coordinator for Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Ben studied the History and Anthropology of Food at Tufts University and SoAS (London), before stepping out into the wide world of food systems. He has worked on food-based start-ups (Butter Beans, NYC), helped begin farmers’ markets (South Durham Farmers’ Market), connected buyers and growers (CEFS NC 10% Campaign), and educated all ages on local foods and canning (This & That Jam). He has also delved into various non-profit work (New Entry/IFFS (Americorps)), and worked in consultancy on policy affecting genetically-modified food and feed programs in the EU (GHK International).

Food Systems Coordinator for Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

Food Systems Coordinator for Carolina Farm Stewardship Association

 

Tom Hatley

Dr. Tom Hatley is an Asheville-based consultant focused on collaboration and strategy for conservation, rural development, and social impact initiatives. Trained as a historian and forester, he has 30 years of experience with the farms, communities, businesses, and forests of the Appalachian region from New York to Alabama. He has written extensively on the intersection of history, equity and environment, and held the Sequoyah Distinguished Professorship in Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University from 2002-2006. He serves as an Advisor for the People and Planet Fund.

 

Tom Hatley, Advisor for the People and Planet Fund

Tom Hatley, Advisor for the People and Planet Fund

 

Michael Whelchel - Co-Founder/Partner, Watershed Capital

Michael Welchel

Michael Welchel – Co-Founder/Partner, Watershed Capital

Co-Founder/Partner, Watershed Capital, Asheville, NC/International: Watershed Capital Group is a specialty consulting firm assisting sustainable companies and fund managers in seeking strategic and financial partners and in executing M&A transactions. Watershed Capital is proud to be a founding B Corp member.

Ross Baird - Executive Director, Village Capital

Ross Baird

Executive Director - Village Capital

Ross Baird – Executive Director, Village Capital

Charlottesville, VA/International: As the Founder and Executive Director, Ross has led Village Capital in providing opportunity to entrepreneurs across the globe building solutions for a better world. To date, VilCap has operated peer-driven educational programs from more than 30 countries, with top enterprises, as selected by the participants themselves. In the past four years, Village Capital has launched seventeen programs worldwide, supporting over 275 entrepreneurs. Participants have raised $30 million, created over 5,000 jobs, and served 4 million customers.

Rosa Lee Harden and Kevin Jones - Co-Founders, SOCAP

Rosa Lee Harden and Kevin Jones

Rosa Lee Harden and Kevin Jones - Co-Founders, SOCAP

Rosa Lee Harden and Kevin Jones – Co-Founders, SOCAP

Swannanoa, NC & San Francisco, CA: Dynamic Duo leading in the world of social enterprise and investing for good! Co-Founders: SOCAP, HUB Bay Area. Rosa Lee: Founder and Convener of SOCAP: Soul, and Canon for Money and Meaning with the Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, NC (Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina) with the responsibility of raising consciousness about the connections between our money and our faith. Kevin, co-founder of Good Capital, one of the first impact investment venture funds, in top 10% in the GIIRS impact ratings and which is looking at three of four companies proceeding to positive exits. SOCAP/Social Capital Markets, the largest impact investment and social enterprise conference in the world. HUB Bay Area, Where Change Goes to Work, the largest co-working facility in the global network of hubs, with more than 22,0000 square feet and 1,100 members. Rosa Lee and Kevin live part time in San Francisco and part time at their 16-acre farm in Swannanoa, NC with their children and grandchildren.

Julie Jensen, Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill

Julie Jensen - Proprietor, Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill

Julie Jensen – Proprietor, Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill

Echoview Farm and Fiber Mill, in Weaverville, NC, provides quality fiber processing from washing to, yarns, felted fabrics, and anywhere in between. We make sure that the fiber you send us is the fiber we return to you, and that every batch receives individualized attention. Our Mill is a LEED* certified processing facility which means we leave a light footprint on the environment. Design elements like solar energy, geo-thermal wells, and sustainable materials help us achieve efficient, eco-friendly processing of your fiber. Echoview is also one of  Western North Carolina’s premier hops farms, and Julie is very involved in making WNC “the Hops Belt of the East.”

Daniel Goldman - Managing Director, Ignition Angels

Daniel Goldman – Ignition Angels

Managing Director, Ignition Angels

Daniel Goldman: Managing Director, Ignition Angels

Berkley, CA & International: Daniel is a visionary on the untapped power of technology to engage and transform since he started building games and apps on a calculator at age 7. He founded the most popular online community, Inner Circle, before the public Internet. He was senior developer on SimCity and CEO/founder of Total Entertainment Network, an early online gaming community bought by Electronic Arts. He has been on numerous non- and for-profit boards, including the public board of Netcom, the first internet company to go public. He began angel investing in 1997 with Ellie Mae, which went public in 2011. He has been advising and supporting entrepreneurs who are making big, systemic changes using technology. He has a BA in Computer Science from UC Berkeley and studied Cognitive Neuroscience at Columbia.

James Watson

James Watson – Program Director, Village Capital

Atlanta, GA/International: As Program Director, James has helped Village Capital provide opportunity to entrepreneurs across the globe building solutions for a better world. To date, they have operated peer-driven educational programs from more than 30 countries, with top enterprises, as selected by the participants themselves. In the past four years, Village Capital has launched seventeen programs worldwide, supporting over 275 entrepreneurs. Participants have raised $30 million, created over 5,000 jobs, and served 4 million customers.

Pam Lewis - Appalachian EB5

Pam Lewis

Pam Lewis, Director for Entrepreneurship, Asheville/Buncombe County

Pam Lewis, Director for Entrepreneurship, Asheville/Buncombe County

Asheville, NC: Relentless Champion for Entrepreneurship 24/7!  In addition to Directing Entrepreneurship for Asheville/Buncombe, Pam is also founder of Venture Asheville, the umbrella brand for the entrepreneurship scene in Asheville and worked with local and national partners to launch Asheville’s entrepreneurial community at SXSW in 2011. Her deepest passion is in working with the scrappy and creative sector of our economy and has brought national attention to Asheville’s vibrant creative economy and thriving entrepreneurial scene. Pam serves on several boards and advisory groups in the area including: Chairman of HandMade In America, The WNC Biotech Advisory Board, AB-Tech Entrepreneurial Foundation, ibiliti/MICA Advisory Board, TEDxAsheville, and The Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute.