McCrory pitches funding for innovators

Posted January 16, 2015

Gov. Pat McCrory speaks to the UNC Board of Governors on Jan. 16, 2015, about the university system's role in economic development.

— North Carolina should invest more in turning the innovations developed at the state's public and private universities into marketable products, Gov. Pat McCrory told the UNC Board of Governors Friday morning.

Speaking to the board, which oversees the University of North Carolina system, along with his chief of staff, Thomas Stith, and others from a committee assigned to develop recommendations on growing businesses, McCrory said his aim was to turn the Research Triangle area into an innovation center that rivals Boston and Silicon Valley.

"We can be equal to those other two and be the vertex in the Southeast," McCrory said. "We can compete with them for talent, we can compete with them on quality of life – second to none – and we can compete with them regarding affordability."

To do that, McCrory said, the state need to figure out ways to turn research dollars coming to the state into products. Without that sort of conversion, he said, the state would begin to miss out on federal research dollars. 

While North Carolina has rebounded from the recession by many measures, job and wage growth has not kept pace with population growth. In speeches and public appearances earlier this year, the governor and other state leaders have focused on ways to stoke the state's economy. 

When he spoke to a group of bankers and business leaders earlier this month, McCrory said he lacked tools to lure established companies to the state and foreshadowed requests for more incentives he may make of the legislature. The items he announced Friday morning appear to be a second part of what will eventually be a package of economic development recommendations to the General Assembly.

The steps that McCrory and others on his innovation committee ticked off Friday were aimed at growing new North Carolina companies rather than luring companies here. They included:

  • Investing $120 million in new venture capital companies. To get state funding, the companies would need to raise at least $2 of private capital for every $1 of state money invested. Those companies would then invest in innovations developed in North Carolina.
  • Creating a $10 million-per-year program to help start-up companies make the transition from concept to a marketable product.
  • Eliminating the state's capital gains tax rate for "innovation-related companies." 
  • Taking steps to lure North Carolina natives involved in innovation home to the state. 
  • Creating a crowd-funding program as a way of generating more capital for start-up companies.

"I think there's a sense of urgency to this," McCrory said, noting that other states are taking similar steps.


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  • ncsense Jan 19, 2015

    Has the Governor met Art Pope? His former budget director/current financer of conservative causes doesn't think it iss the job of a state university to do research much less innovation.

  • davidgnews Jan 18, 2015

    Pharmcos have been doing this for years.

  • nerdlywehunt Jan 17, 2015

    Yes let's bring on that republican welfare! Let businesses raise their own money and keep government out of ALL types of welfare.

  • dmytro32 Jan 16, 2015

    View quoted thread

    So true!

  • juliomercado Jan 16, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Okay, so that is funny!

  • Allen Kennedy Jan 16, 2015
    user avatar

    It WAS a rival to Boston and Silicon Valley, McCrory.

  • liskm Jan 16, 2015

    UNC has been doing this on their own for many years. A simple search on their website would have let McCrory know this has already been happening...RHO, Quntiles amongst many others. For govt. to get involved will likely only slow down/gum up the works.

  • dubious Jan 16, 2015

    The Republicans cut tens of millions from education and the university system and then McCookie harps on innovation. Ask any farmer. If you eat your seed corn, your crop will be smaller, not larger.

  • ncsuweatherboy Jan 16, 2015

    It's been a bad week for businesses and hq's moving out of North Carolina, and NC not attracting some large manufacturing facilities. Curious how he continues to tout how business friendly he has made NC, it's an exodus this year.

  • Sally Bethune Jan 16, 2015
    user avatar

    McCrory must have been a yoga teacher in his earlier years. How does one get so flexible in 2 years? No to Obama care, no to increasing the Medicaid and unemployment rolls. Giving rich people tax increases signing an insane gun law to now as he acts his way to a role as a "moderate". People may not come out to vote in midterms, but they do in presidential elections and I'm sure the tax breaks to corporations and the rich and the reducing funding for education will be remember then!