Nathan B Phillips


Stephanie leads Eagle Market Street Development Corporation, a 501(c)3 in Asheville NC, which serves the Asheville Buncombe community in property development, economic development and access to human services. If you haven’t listened to the first half of this interview with Stephanie yet, I highly recommend doing so first!

Episode Recap

Stephanie is putting this into motion at Eagle Market Street to create equitable and inclusive capitalism for people and communities of color through these following programs:

  • Small Business Development services to help small businesses grow to the next level
  • Incubate to Innovate Program to provide leasing support services for businesses in Asheville
  • Community Benefit Partner as a fiscal sponsor for emerging non-profits to raise funds
  • Community Equity Fund to infuse capital into emerging businesses in an equitable way
  • Catawba Community Space for hosting events and connecting emerging businesses
  • Catawba Bell Business Hub for small business coworking and incubation

The Community Equity Fund is unique in that, while it is a repayment program, it is not tied to P&I, participants get a 24 month bridge, and they pay back through a revenue share.

Stephanie Swepson Twitty

Stephanie shares the specifics of the Community Equity Fund, how interested business can apply, and how the model works for them. It is specifically designed to remove systemic barriers to capital and funding for BIPOC businesses while looking at the whole picture of social justice, economic justice, and community partnerships.

Eagle Market Street stays engaged with the businesses they work with to find ways to reduce costs, scale more quickly, and connect with other supportive people and organizations in the area. The emphasis is on helping businesses grow in a healthy way throughout their entire life cycle while becoming anchors in their community.

There is also incredible work being done to bridge the differences between Urban & Rural development in the area. This work is being done to prevent the mistakes of the past being repeated while creating new, proactive models for development for other communities that don’t create disparities between communities.

To contact Stephanie Swepson Twitty, please send an email to or call 828-281-1227

Guest Bio

Stephanie is a native of  Western North Carolina and a Community Economic Development  professional. With more than 20+ years in the nonprofit Industry,  Stephanie is a champion and an activist working with  Black/Indigenous/POC businesses to help them become “asset builders and  wealth creators.”

Stephanie Swepson-Twitty of Old Fort knows the history of the Block firsthand. After a career in banking and finance, she and her husband opened a shop in 2002, Stevie’s Originals, which sold home decor from the Ivory Coast and Ghana. However, running the business proved to be a struggle for the young entrepreneurs.

Swepson-Twitty then decided to switch gears. She joined the Eagle Market Streets Development Corp., an Asheville nonprofit founded in 1994 by Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church senior pastor John Grant and his congregants, as an AmeriCorps intern. The nonprofit aims to increase economic and social opportunities in the area through property development and workforce development.

By 2008, Swepson-Twitty took to the helm of the organization as the president and CEO. She remains closely involved in the effort to help bring customers and residents back to The Block.

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