Chris Beacham, RTS Director of Economic Development Programs, was asked by the North Carolina Technology Association to present to their Annual Leadership Conference on the topic: Dare to Compare: How Does North Carolina Stack Up? Chris presented an overview of the dramatic change of North Carolina from a state built on traditional manufacturing to one based on knowledge and technology. But in the constant battle for economic success, how does North Carolina compare to other states on policy, workforce, venture capital, entrepreneurship and other factors in building a strong technology-driven economy? The presentation details the data that shows the state as strong in many areas like R&D and presence of scientists and engineers while lagging in areas like citizen’s access to computers and Internet access.
Chris then presented a case for building on a mix of small, mid-size and large firms instead on focusing on the polarizing decision whether to focus on entrepreneurship versus traditional economic development strategies, making a case that small and large businesses are symbiotic. As economist William Baumol points out “The different roles taken on by small and large firms together create more technological progress, innovation and growth than either category could have achieved by itself.”
Following the presentation Chris moderated a panel discussion with economic development leaders from across the state.