Momentum Around Triangle Region – Innovation and Entrepreneurship

April 22, 2013 9:40 PM

In looking back over the last 3 years, I am completely amazed at how far our region has come in such a short period of time and we are continuing to see substantial momentum and increased velocity in 2013. With help from a recent study completed by our Startup NC partnership, I have listed below several key areas of growth within the Triangle over the last 36 months.

[Content: Goes Here]

  1. Companies – Anchored by big exits from Sharefile (acquired by Citrix), iContact (acquired by Vocus), Hosted Solutions (acquired by Windstream), and Yap (acquired by Amazon), as well as a recent IPO announcements by Channel Advisor, Quintiles, Chimerex, and LipoScience, the region continues to exhibit the ability to nurture entrepreneurs and grow local startup companies.  Over the past 3 years, more than 400 new companies have been started, representing over 2,000 new jobs.  In addition, over 100 high-growth companies have expanded, representing over 4,000 jobs. These companies represent a wide variety of different industry sectors including software, hardware, tech/media, consumer products, clean-tech, life sciences, agriculture, gaming, healthcare, and social entrepreneurship.

  2. Spaces/Entrepreneurial Density – Space is essential to cultivating the entrepreneurial density necessary to help scale a startup company and there are now dozens of entrepreneurial spaces across the region, notably American Underground in Durham, HUB Raleigh, and Launch Chapel Hill to name a few. The Research Triangle Park (RTP) also recently announced a new master plan to redevelop the park, with plans to include mixed use live/work/play components and entrepreneurial co-working spaces.

  3. Accelerators and Incubators – The Triangle region is home to numerous incubators and accelerators, including the South’s most highly capitalized tech accelerator, Triangle Startup Factory. Other accelerators and incubators span a wide range of industries such as clean-tech, gaming, social entrepreneurship, fashion, and product design/development, representing the region’s breadth and depth of creative and innovative culture. The local universities have also created new programs and initiatives to help student entrepreneurs create and accelerate new companies while on campus and to help them spinout into the private sector.  These programs include NC State’s Entrepreneurship Initiative/The Garage, Duke’s i-Cubed, and UNC-CH’s Carolina Challenge/Launch Chapel Hill.

  4. Culture – Perhaps most importantly, the past three years have marked a significant shift in the region’s culture with respect to entrepreneurship.  Risk taking, once misunderstood and stigmatized, is now celebrated. The region is also becoming much more inclusive to all parties who desire to be involved and participate within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This inclusiveness will be critical to maintain a robust community, as new entrepreneurs, new talent, and new companies move into the region on a daily basis.

This is by no means an all-encompassing list but it should give a good idea of the momentum that has been building. As we move forward throughout the remainder of the year, it will be critical for our region to work together to capitalize on new opportunities and create a cohesive message of collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship, which will help carry us forward into the future.

Derrick Minor

Read It