Meet the new Executive Administrator at Eagle Market Street, Kamryn Mason!
Q. Tell us a little about yourself.
A. I was born and raised in Lexington, KY. I attended Berea College, where I obtained a BS in Business Administration concentrated in Marketing and a BA in communication. I recently relocated to Asheville for a fresh start and am excited about what I have the potential to build here.
Q. What is your interest in Economic Development? What is your experience in Economic Development?
A. I have limited exposure to Economic Development as a recent college grad, with most of my knowledge coming from concepts and case studies focused on KY economics. That is precisely why I am so excited about what we do here at EMSDC because I am earning the opportunity to play a significant role in the economic development and mobility for communities of color and women. Especially the African American community because, as a young Black woman, I feel it is my responsibility to be a part of the solution to the systematic disenfranchisement that we are combatting as a community.
Q. What is your role at Eagle Market Street Development Corporation?
A. My official title is Executive Administrator to the CEO Stephanie Swepson-Twitty. I am responsible for processing invoices, curating advertising and marketing materials, brainstorming content, etc. Also, any other activities pertinent to the maintenance of the daily operation of the corporation’s programs, services, and office space.
Q. How do you feel EMSDC’s mission serves our community?
A. We serve our community by providing business education, networking opportunities, and connection to economic engines and resources. We primarily offer this through our IDA program, which provides non-traditional capital to minority and women-owned business startups or expansions.
Q. As a local Ashevillan, what is your view of Economic Development for blacks and minorities in our city?
A. As someone not from this area that recently relocated to Asheville in September of 2019, I was surprised not to see more black and minority-owned businesses on the frontline that are easily accessible. In my brief time here, I’ve noticed that you have to be somewhat heavily integrated into the local black community to be aware of what black and minority-owned products and services are available. As someone who is a transplant and is still in the process of building a social network, that is a huge barrier when trying to support minority-owned businesses. Businesses being able to start or expand by participating in our programs aren’t going to maximize their profits and economic stability if they aren’t maximizing their visibility to the public. Economic development, to me, isn’t just making sure these businesses exist but helping them cultivate traction and presence in the community they can sustain.
Q. What opportunities can black and minority business owners expect from EMSDC in 2020?
A. As emsdc continues its commitment to work with small women and poc owned businesses…
Were putting together an incubation program and 70 s market st where participants can lease space at a reduced rate (below mr) in partnership with OA. Also oa is doing workshops and networking and usng that space to host those opportunities.
Q. How has COVID-19 affected your work?
A. I began my role here at EMSDC after the quarantine had begun, so, in that respect, my work has always been heavily focused on adapting to the changes COVID-19 has forced us as a society to implement. We’ve been partnering very heavily with the Health Equity Coalition of Asheville to help those who may not have adequate health coverage amid this pandemic. As well as making mask for local organizations and helping in any other way we can to do our part during this stressful time.
Q. What is your message to black and minority business owners facing the impact of COVID-19?
A. Stay strong. With every recession, the market changes drastically, and some go out of business permanently, and there are those that adapt accordingly to survive. If you are currently a sole proprietorship or freelance contractor that doesn’t qualify for traditional loans and grants, how can you go about registering for a business account to make that process more accessible if this occurs again? Do you have a service or product that you can offer remotely if social distancing becomes our new reality? If so, how can you digitize your process so that you can secure your income? What changes are you willing to make to secure your future.
My name is Eboné Graham, and I am an Opportunity Asheville Liaison. It is my job to ensure that non-majority and low-to-moderate income earners have access to the resources available through Mountain BizWorks and Western Women’s Business Center to grow their businesses. Learn More!