Local News

Charlotte Business Innovation and Growth Council To Re-launch on March 1

Posted February 17, 2006 8:18 a.m. EST

— Big news out of Charlotte's entrepreneurial community- BIG is going back into business on its own.

The Business Innovation and Growth Council, or BIG, which merged with the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce last July, will separate itself from the Chamber as of March 1.

"We believe this new path will allow both the Chamber and BIG to better serve the diversified interests of our entrepreneurial community," said Terry Cox, executive director of BIG who had become part of the Chamber staff through the merger, in an e-mail.

The new BIG will focus on "high-impact, high-growth" vision and potential, the group and the Charlotte Chamber said in a joint statement.

Backers of the BIG group, to be known as Trailblazers, will be announced shortly.

However, one very familiar Charlotte entrepreneurial leader is already affiliated with the group. Dave Jones, chief executive officer of web hosting and data services provider Peak 10, will serve as its chairman. He also will continue to be involved with the Chamber of Commerce.

"The Charlotte entrepreneurial community is now better served than it was eight months ago," said Jones, who described the move as a "natural evolution".

"The re-launch of BIG outside the Chamber is an innovative arrangement between BIG and the Chamber that will ensure that the Charlotte region is better positioned to attract and serve all types of entrepreneurs," Cox said in her e-mail note. "The Charlotte Chamber will continue to serve the high growth market, including current BIG Chamber members, through programming designed for a broader entrepreneurial community."

Bob Morgan, who recently took over as president of the Charlotte Chamber, said the two organizations would continue to work together.

"The Chamber, with its mission of 'Igniting Success,' is positioned to serve a broad range of entrepreneurs," he said in a joint statement. "The re-launch of BIG under Terry's leadership will provide an additional and targeted level of service to entrepreneurs with high-growth, high-impact goals. It will be an organization run by and for entrepreneurs, and we look forward to opportunities to partner and collaborate."

With Cox's departure, Chamber Chief Operating Officer Blair Stanford and Senior Vice President of Member Value Steve Partridge will oversee the Chamber's Entrepreneurs Council.

According to Cox, BIG is re-launching with support from the business community.

"Some of Charlotte's most respected business award winners and entrepreneurs have already committed to help fund and achieve the new organization's early success," she said. "These are people with super-charged entrepreneurial engines."

The history of the BIG Council dates back to 1985 when the group was launched under the name Metrolina Entrepreneurial Council (MEC).