Raleigh, NCSU partner to spur entrepreneurial innovation

Posted November 21, 2011

— City leaders and North Carolina State University are teaming up to create a “unified vision” for developing Raleigh as an “Innovation Center.”

With Durham having firmly established itself as the Triangle’s hub for new and emerging companies through a variety of efforts focused on entrepreneurs, Raleigh is attempting to get in on the development game.

A first step is an “Innovation Summit,” which is set for the Raleigh Convention Center on Jan. 18, 2012. The one-day program is being put on by the city, N.C. State, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, Raleigh Economic Development and Wake County Economic Development. Sponsors include Rex Healthcare, the Poyner & Spruill law firm, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and Springboard, which is N.C. State's innovation initiative.

Durham already offers such programs as the “Startup Stampede,” Bull City Forward and The American Underground at the American Tobacco Historic District. The Underground hosts a variety of startup firms. A new technology accelerator will open next spring called Groundwork Labs.

In Raleigh, N.C. State is helping take the lead to pursue possible initiatives targeting entrepreneurs and new ventures.

“Numerous groups are interested in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, but we recognized that someone needed to focus on a plan of action,” Terri Lomax, N.C. State's vice chancellor of research, innovation and economic development, said in a statement. “The university and its partners are committed to building a City of Innovation that will help define Raleigh’s economic future. This is the first step.”

Four key points to be addressed at the summit are:

  • Creating an Innovation Center in Raleigh to meet the needs of local entrepreneurs
  • Branding Raleigh as a City of Innovation
  • Creating partnerships between N.C. State and Raleigh
  • Attracting more money to the region from angel investors venture capitalists to invest in startups

Miles Wright, chief executive of Xanofi Inc., said forming a technology hub would benefit all local startups. Xanofi, which was formed about a year ago and is looking to expand, uses N.C. State technology to create products out of nanofibers.

"We don't do what we do in a bubble," Wright said. "We have to connect to products and markets and to funders to banks and CPAs and all the parts of this community, so our ability to be successful is directly tied to this community."

Mayor Charles Meeker compared the effort to the formation of Research Triangle Park in the 1950s and 1960s.

“The unifying catalyst of RTP ignited the flame of prosperity and progress that has been growing here ever since,” Meeker said in a statement. “North Carolina State University is as well equipped to lead today’s age of innovation as any university I know of. The creation of this City of Innovation initiative, with NCSU’s leadership, can well be the unifying catalyst for the coming 50 years.”


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  • vraptor Nov 21, 2011

    Hey gov. What a joke. Reduce taxes and get out of the way of business.

    We need a business model for $16 muffins.

  • superman Nov 21, 2011

    The mission of 1862 surely must change for NC State. Things are a bit different now than it was then. I would suggest they review their mission and revise it.

  • 37 Nov 21, 2011

    This is a fantastic idea. I am so glad that we have leaders (regardless of affiliation) who are planning for the future. Good job!

  • chuckbiscuits Nov 21, 2011

    "God forbid it helps develop jobs down the road. That would be terrible...."

    What is the "down the road" thing you are talking about. We require instant gratification. I'm surprised more people aren't complaining that babies aren't born as fully grown, functional members of society.

  • patrick85ed Nov 21, 2011

    If NC State is involved then they have figured out how to make money off of it. We never do anything just for the good of the people.

  • Steven Nov 21, 2011

    Good grief, people complaining about people wanting to be active in promoting and cultivating innovation. God forbid it helps develop jobs down the road. That would be terrible....

  • Equinox Bandingo Nov 21, 2011

    Charles says he's in on an effort that is similar to the formation of RTP. When he's not busy as mayor any longer... he's either going to be selling used cars or working as a stand up comedian...

  • ntheweeds Nov 21, 2011

    I wish people would stop playing silly politics and recognize when someone is trying to do something helpful. It you looked you would notice that this has 2 sponsors, so it is pretty safe to assume they would provide most of the funding.

  • hardycitrus Nov 21, 2011

    >can this area attract something besides
    >technology jobs. I'm all for jobs, but what
    >if you don't work in that field?

    Those people are called "customers."

  • storchheim Nov 21, 2011

    Chairman, try something besides name-calling and generalizations. It's fine if you don't agree with me but if that's all you've got to offer, I'll disregard you.

    I'm aware that Raleigh is ranked highly in some publications for some reasons. I stand by my comments about massive fraud and waste, and the fact that while some of the nearby states have become tough on illegals (GA, AL), one still doesn't need an ID to vote here, nor can one's citizenship status be used to deny them education and welfare paid for by the citizens.

    And that's why I as sole steward of my time on earth and my money am choosing to invest elsewhere.