Is Charlotte the Right City for Entrepreneurs?
Many of you know my background, and my passion for entrepreneurship. Operating business office space and being an entrepreneur are big parts of my life, and it is certainly one of the reasons that I am in the Queen City.
Over the weekend I was talking to a friend, and he mentioned that he chatted with a business coach over the weekend. He said that it went well, and in a short amount of time he was able to look at his business from a different perspective. The mentor asked him some simple questions, and he was able to formulate a solid plan moving forward. It’s programs like this that help make a city great for young business owners. I also remembered reading an article a few years back and it ranked Charlotte as one of the top cities for young entrepreneurs. With all the changes going on in Charlotte however, with the housing market, the banking industry, and the “great recession”; I was curious to see if the city of Charlotte still had a lot going on for entrepreneurs.
Is Charlotte still the hot-bed for young talent and start-ups that it used to be?
Why Charlotte is a Great Area for Entrepreneurs & Business Owners-
One reason this region is still a great place to start a business can be backed by evidence from Forbes.com . It listed Charlotte 18th for “Best Places for Business & Careers” and 8th on “The Next Big Boom Towns” list. Forbes calling Charlotte a “boom-town”, should come as no surprise, as you’ll see from our next reason.
As we all know the housing market has suffered the last few years, and this is why I was a little surprised at the Charlotte census data. Even with all the housing struggles Charlotte grew almost 3% adding 200,000 people from 4/10 – 7/11. Even in tough economic times it is good to see that the city not only sustains, but that it continues to grow. With all the growth happening in the State, Mecklenburg County, and the city itself, Charlotte continues to be a spot for entrepreneurs.
One of the coolest things I found was from this past weekend’s Charlotte Observer. It was an article about Charlotte’s Startup Weekend. It gives the opportunity for young start-ups to pitch their ideas, collaborate with like minded individuals, and they can even walk away with $5,000 to help the get off on the right foot.
There was also another great article from October, 2012, that highlighted some of the things that the city government, and local businesses are doing in order to help mentor, and fund, young businesses. I also know from my own experience that Charlotte is an easy city to start a business. There are many resources available, for free, from the Chamber of Commerce, the local government, the public library, and many others. In my own experience, the city of Charlotte, and Mecklenburg County are easy to do business in, especially when compared to other cities. It’s all relative, and every business is different, but I found that the red tape is a little easier to cut through in this region.
Looking towards the future I believe Charlotte will remain a hot area because of a study done by Entrepreneur.com. It ranked UNC- Chapel Hill 9th for Undergraduate Programs for Entrepreneurship 2012. If you’ve ever been in a sports bar for a UNC game you know how many people migrate to Charlotte after college. If entrepreneurs from a well respected school like Chapel Hill continue to come here in the future, it would be hard to ignore this region.
After looking back on the Charlotte boom, the subsequent dip , and where the city is headed, I am certain that Charlotte remains a phenomenal place for young entrepreneurs and businesses. It may have slowed a little, like much of the rest of the country, but I believe that it is poised to make at run at being one of the best cities for entrepreneurs.
I am involved in the Charlotte business community on a number of different levels; business owner, entrepreneur, and consumer. In rough economic times the city continues to bring in new businesses and events. The last DNC was of course here in the QC, Chiquita now has headquarters here, the city (and state) continue to offer tax incentives, and it seems like Charlotte might make a run at attracting the film industry. All of these help attract new business, a skilled labor force, help make the region a great place to live, and they are all reasons why Charlotte is perfect for entrepreneurs and small business.
Have you started a business in the Charlotte region? Did you specifically choose this area to start a business in? How do you feel about Charlotte as a hot city for entrepreneurs?
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