Tag Archives: CED

CED on The State of the Entrepreneurial Economy of North Carolina

1,800 companies started.

40,560 jobs created.

$7.7 billion in capital invested.

This is the impact that entrepreneurs have had on the state of North Carolina in the past 20 years.

The “Starting Something: The State of the Entrepreneurial Economy of North Carolina, 1992-2011” report was presented last week at CED‘s Annual Meeting held at RTP Headquarters.  The data for the report was collected by, Maryann Feldman and Nichola Lowe, who are both professors at UNC-Chapel Hill, First Flight Venture Center, an RTP-based incubator, and CED.

Another important finding of the study is that the jobs created by these start-ups have stayed in North Carolina, which is key to the economic growth of the state.  Furthermore, while a majority of the VC funds that have invested in these start-ups are based in the Southeast, there have been investments made from international funds, as well as those based in Boston, NYC and California.

CED took on this initiative both to show the importance of entrepreneurs in our overall economy, but more importantly as a reminder of the various players and ingredients our region’s economy depends on to remain competitive.

At RTP, a central theme of our mission is to serve as an economic driver for the State of North Carolina and the Triangle Region.  It’s interesting to see the role the larger, more established companies in our region play — both as the sources of innovation and new companies and also as end-users or acquirers of some of the new ideas. We are proud to see these great innovators in the Triangle creating a thriving entrepreneurial community that is catching the attention of the nation.  This is what RTP is all about, folks.

For the presentation from CED’s annual meeting, click here.

For the press release, click here.

Start something… and here’s who can help.

Startup Lifecycle (thanks YallaStartup for the image!)

See the image to the left? If you’ve drawn this on a paper napkin, and then scratched your head at the checklist…

Chances are: you need this list.

Over the last few days, there have been multiple meetups, CED Cafes and TiE Carolina events that have offered opportunities for entrepreneurs like you to connect with the Research Triangle region’s rich resources of support organizations to help make that light bulb idea of yours a reality.

A huge thanks to CED for starting this list, and the many more who pinged me with others. As they say, I only know what I know. SO. If you want to be included on the list, leave a comment with your organization’s name, description, and contact information and any special packages you have to support our entrepreneurs.

And now… the list:

Read more »

Triangle Startup Weekend: What did you do this weekend?

Last weekend, CED was one of the hosts for Triangle Startup Weekend – an event to build a company in 54 hours.  According to Joan Siefert Rose of CED, there where nearly 200 people for the kickoff, and more than 100 people worked over throughout the weekend in the American Underground to create their companies. Eighteen teams presented the result of their concentrated efforts Sunday afternoon.  Thanks to Joan for sharing news of the winners:

  • First Place: YardSprout, a company matching homeowners with master gardeners to help cultivate part of their lawn to grow food
  • Second Place: DoTheData, a company founded by Jenny Eigenrauch and Wendy Lybrand, counselors in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. The technology is designed to help counselors manage student records in a more efficient and actionable way.
  • Third Place: Knackeo, a company dedicated to helping individuals develop the “knack” for certain skills by linking them with the right people and resources. 

Special kudos to the judges – Jason Caplain of Southern Capitol Ventures; Joe Colopy of Bronto; Brian Handly, advisor at RingLeader Digital; Joe Velk of Contender Capital; and Richard White of UserVoice. And special thanks to the other organizers: Triangle Interactive Marketing Association, Triangle Business Law, with help from Group Story and ReverbNation, in partnership with Startup Weekend, a nonprofit based in Seattle. 

Entrepreneurs. Electronics. Elevators. Expansions. Oh my.

Phew! It’s Friday. And what a week! A week filled with excitement and energy in and around the RTP and the Triangle. Bear with me as I recap… I promise, I have an important point.

  • Entrepreneurs. As many of you know, we started the week with a bang as The Blackstone Charitable Foundation committed $3.6 million in 2011 to support a dense network of entrepreneurial support in this region.
  • Electronics. The RTP community through wind rain and sun came out in force to recycle old electronics and donate reusable computers to Kramden Institute, Inc., a 501(c)(3)not-for-profit charitable institution to refurbish. Kramden then empowers hardworking, less-advantaged students in the community by giving them home computers, allowing them to bridge the digital divide and advance their achievement.
  • Elevators. Elevator pitches that is – during a 2-minute lightening round from some of the most promising start-ups and some serial entrepreneurs at the CED Venture Conference. First, can I just say the coffee at the beautiful and expansive Raleigh Convention Center rocks! And second, we’ve got some serious rock-stars in this area. Michael Capps at Epic Games. You crushed it. Ben Weinberger at Digitalsmiths. Just to name a few.
  • Expansions. I told you. It was a busy week! RTI International held a grand opening event for their gorgeous, new 127,000 square-foot LEED Silver Building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) on its main campus in the Park. And we celebrated with nearly 300 Biogen Idec employees and partners from the RTP and from around the region and broke ground for an 180,000-square-foot LEED office building, expanding their presence in the Park. Read more »

New RTP speaker series: ‘Marketing Mondays’

The Research Triangle Park and Quarry Integrated Communications are introducing Marketing Mondays, a monthly speaker series focused on helping business people in the Park (and across the Research Triangle region) market their products, services and technologies more effectively. Other Marketing Mondays proud partners include CED (formerly The Council for Entrepreneurial Development), the largest entrepreneurial support organization of its kind in the United States.

TriOut's iPhone app

The inaugural Marketing Monday will be held on Monday, Aug. 9 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. and will feature location-based marketing experts Wayne Sutton and Lawrence Ingraham of  Tri-Out. Location-based marketing is the interaction with customers based on their location, offering value-based opportunities to increase customer loyalty and social sharing.

Alan Quarry

Future speakers will include: Paul Kalbfleisch, Vice President of Brand Creativity at BlackBerry; and Robert F. Lauterborn, author, consultant, and retired professor of advertising from the University of North Carolina. Marketing Mondays will also feature remarks by Alan Quarry, Chairman and CEO of Quarry Integrated Communications.

“Marketing has entered a new era with the emergence of innovative technologies and practices,” says Cara Rousseau, RTP Director of Partnership Initiatives. “Our goal is to help anyone with an interest in engaging with their customers and target communities to re-think and re-search how to successfully build their business in today’s economic and technology climate.”

Marketing Mondays will be hosted at the RTP Headquarters at 12 Davis Drive in The Research Triangle Park. A networking reception will follow each program. Admission is free. However, attendees are asked to RSVP at www.marketingmondays.org, or send an email to marketingmondays@quarry.com.

Wayne Sutton

Hashtag: #mktgmondays

Wayne Sutton’s Blog

Lawrence Ingraham’s Blog

Lawrence Ingraham

Cultivating Entrepreneurialism

The Durham Chamber of Commerce held its first Economic Development Summit Wednesday at the Millennium Hotel. The event consisted of two sister sessions: the first a panel discussion of entrepreneurship in the Durham region, the second a keynote analysis of where Durham needs to go to reach its venture capitalist goals. Bob Pickens, CED’s director of entrepreneurship, moderated the panel. Panelists included Christopher Gergen, Rachel Weeks and Aaron Houghton. A little about the three:

Chris Gergen – a professor at Duke University, a founding partner of Life Entrepreneurs, LLC, and a co-author of Life Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives. Gergen also spearheads the ‘Bull City Forward’ initiative.

–> Why his business is interesting: Gergen considers himself a “cultural entrepreneur”, a term he gleaned from a bar conversation in Chile with a fellow entrepreneur who had just founded his own university. Essentially, a cultural entrepreneur is one who begins a business with future-driven social goals in mind. Pursuing the Triple Bottom Line: people, profits, and planet—is now integral to sustainability and growth as a business, he says. In order to retain the region’s up-and-coming talent, it’s no longer solely about financial matters.

Rachel Weeks –a Duke grad and owner/founder of School House Ethical Fashion, an alternative collegiate apparel brand that stresses compensating international suppliers well to ensure a free but fair clothing market.

–> Why her business is interesting: Weeks’s vision is to break away from an industry dominated by the oligopoly and exploitative practices of brands like Nike and Champion. Not only do her clothes vary in style and design from the athletic tag mold, but she has committed to paying her Sri Lanka-based employees a much more comfortable “living wage” than the aforementioned titans. She launched her product with a Duke line and has since expanded to a host of different colleges and universities.

Aaron Houghton – the co-founder and Board Chairman/CIO of iContact, who began the company at age 22. Houghton also serves as CEO to North Carolina-based technology start-up Preation.

–> Why his business is interesting: Houghton graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in Computer Science and did not waste any time in getting his feet wet in the start-up world. He and co-founder/CEO Ryan Allis started iContact the same year (Houghton 22 at the time; Allis 19!). iContact manages email marketing, newsletter distribution, and RSS feeds for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Formerly he ran StartupWithMe.com, a service which allowed start-ups, VC’s, and entrepreneurs to match and connect with potentially compatible co-investors and innovators to better ensure success. His businesses also donate to regional charities and non-profits each year to strengthen the community.

All three spoke about their personal success stories—and challenges (Houghton and Allis spent a year living in their office above a Qdoba eating frozen hot dogs), but also about where they see room for improvement in Durham’s entrepreneurial community. “Locale conditions matter,” said Gergen. “Durham is an ideal location to build out an entrepreneurial ecosystem because it’s small enough to make a difference in as an entrepreneur. If Durham can position itself as the epicenter of economic development—much like RTP did 50 years ago—we will be enormously successful.” But, he pointed out that the region still lacks adequate collective support to achieve this. The idea is to build Durham into an economic ‘cluster’: a geographical block cohabited by companies of the same kind receiving well-suited investments and thriving by a constructive policy climate. (Ex: how Italy has become a mecca for shoes.) The cluster concept is a flywheel—a device that gains its own momentum once it gets going—but it still needs that initial push. “Durham has all the right ingredients,” Gergen said. “But if we’re not intentional about this, we’re going to miss the opportunity.”

One way Durham might miss the bus is by not having a proper publicity campaign to show others who it is and what it’s about. The White House now has a special spotlight program to distinguish these clusters, and it’s the city’s job to brand itself as a hub of social innovation. It must be a total collaboration, the panel said, including everyone from investors to policy-makers, from public school representatives to college-aged interns. Weeks said she has more UNC, Duke, and NCSU interns employed at School House than actual employees this summer, and she is tickled with how hardworking and enthusiastic they are. It’s crucial to retain this local talent and make sure they don’t skip town to New York or Miami after graduation for more-established VC markets. This is a major plank of Gergen’s ‘Bull City Forward’ initiative, aimed at becoming the conscience to the Durham economic cluster; how does we homegrow talent and keep it here down the road?

But, first, how does all this happen in such a tumultuous economic climate? The panel described a sea change in the general nature of start-ups going forward. “Consumers coming out of this experience are highly distrustful of the system we once knew,” Weeks said. “The next big companies and home runs are going to be socially responsible concepts.” Houghton classified many VCs today as “accidental entrepreneurs”, ousted from their tenured corporate desk jobs, and encouraged them to stay with their new start-ups even after the economy gets back on track and those desk jobs are open once again.

-Ross Maloney