North Carolina Open For Business

North Carolina Open For Business

8:29pm Apr 08, 2013
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the new public-private partnership will help grow economic development in the Tarheel state.
Keri Brown

Governor Pat McCrory and other state officials gathered at a textile plant in Alamance County Monday afternoon to announce a new public-private partnership to help spark economic growth in the state.

McCrory says the proposed creation of a nonprofit corporation to handle economic recruitment and retention efforts in North Carolina will help the state attract new businesses and create jobs.

“We have a sense of urgency because people are hurting out there and we have current clients right now that are considering N.C., and the quicker we get this reorganization done, the better and more effective our marketing and sales will be," says McCrory. 

Gov. McCrory added, "The second thing is we want to get this done in this legislative session. That's why we didn't want to wait.”

McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker announced the new public-private partnership Monday at the Copland textile plant near Burlington.

According to the proposed plan, the North Carolina Economic Development Corp. would receive state funds and take over many Commerce Department responsibilities, including travel and tourism, awarding incentives and small business development.

Decker says the goal is to consolidate as many of the entities as possible involved in economic development in NC.

“We don't know all of the specifics as we work with what the organization will look like, but we do know there are a lot of people involved in the economic development process and a lot of times to a client it is very confusing. We are very reactionary and the key difference is that we will be much more proactive,” says Decker. 

The plan is encouraging for business owners like Jason Copland. His family owned textile plant in Alamance County employs around 200 people. He says the company is now exporting some of its products to countries like Brazil and Mexico. 

“The issue is that we need a rising tide that lifts all ships, not trying to pick industries that they think are going to be either positive or negative, because that can hurt industries like textiles. I like to hear that they want everybody to do well,” says Copland.

Over the next 60 days, The Department of Commerce will develop a plan for the public-private partnership.

Meanwhile, McCrory has tapped Bill Elmore, vice chairman of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, to lead the effort.  McCrory says state officials will also seek input from community colleges, mayors and other community leaders.

Decker says NC is also looking at other states that have used the nonprofit model as a way to respond more quickly to companies seeking to grow.

The plan will have to be approved by the General Assembly. 

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