As we enter into a new decade with the news that North Carolina was once again named Forbes’ Best State for Business for the third year in a row, the question at the top of our minds is simple: what’s next? 2019 was a banner year for businesses moving to or expanding in North Carolina, but how can we continue to encourage job growth and creation, entrepreneurship and innovation, and economic prosperity for all in 2020?
This week, we held two events that helped us preview the landscape ahead for North Carolina’s economic development. On Monday, we were pleased to host Anita Brown-Graham and the ncIMPACT Initiative for a focus group with business leaders to review the current status of the state’s Strategic Economic Development Plan. Among other things, Brown-Graham talked about existing challenges for economic mobility, particularly as workers seek to move up the ladder into higher-paying jobs. Business leaders in the room also had an opportunity to share feedback on the greatest challenges and opportunities they see for North Carolina’s economic development, which included finding solutions for the skilled labor shortage, continuing to strengthen the state’s competitive tax climate, and examining our regulatory climate with an eye on how it impacts our long-term infrastructure needs.
Yesterday, along with the North Carolina Bankers Association, we hosted the 18th Annual Economic Forecast Forum, a gathering of our state’s leaders to preview the year ahead and discuss how North Carolina can continue to remain a leader in job retention, job creation and quality of life. We were pleased to be joined by CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Chris Chung, and several other leaders for a panel called “Why North Carolina?” During their in-depth conversation, panelists agreed that the diversity of North Carolina’s top industries lends our state resiliency and is sure to help businesses weather varying economic cycles. Panelists also shared that economic development isn’t just about landing the big, newsworthy projects—it’s also about supporting entrepreneurs, growing small businesses and attracting tourism dollars to the state.
As we look ahead, we know there are several challenges on the horizon that our state must tackle if we want to continue to attract job creators, entrepreneurs and innovators. From the skills gap to our state’s pressing infrastructure needs, these challenges demand long-term, collaborative solutions, and we are excited to work with many of you as we craft an even stronger future for our state.
If you have a moment, we would love to hear about what’s on your mind as you look ahead to the new year. Please fill out this quick survey and tell us about your organization’s priorities for 2020 so we can continue to be a voice for you.