NCGrowth Economic Development Project Updates

NCGrowth’s mission is to create good jobs and equitable opportunities for people in rural communities and economically challenged areas. NCGrowth directly benefits communities in NC with the goal of completing about 30 projects a year in addition to creating and retaining over 100 jobs annually. Within our work, we build bridges in and between communities and create partnerships with a multitude of organizations. Part of our mission is to influence national and state policy; we do this through speaking at federal conferences and workshops on rural economic development, providing perspective to the state’s Hurricane Matthew recovery efforts, and advising numerous state, federal and non-profit entities. NCGrowth also connects with a national audience through conferences and research.

Our technical assistance services include direct support to businesses through business plan creation, market analysis, building inventory systems, financial projections, and any other direct technical need for the company. In the research portion of our support, our services include impact analysis, marketing of a community, economic development strategic planning, business retention strategies, growth strategies, and other priority items for a community.

Homegrown Tools – Small Town Economic Development Strategies Web Tool

In partnership with the NC Rural Center, the Federal Reserve Bank of the Southeast, the UNC School of Government, the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning, and the Eastern Carolina Council Economic Development District, NCGrowth is creating a web tool to showcase successful small town economic development strategies in North Carolina and beyond. A prototype has been developed and was tested with a group of partners and practitioners on Feb 28. Currently NCGrowth is creating new case study content to add to the tool and refining the design and functionality based on input from local practitioners and partners. Public launch is expected in Summer 2018.

Economic Impact Study of Tribally Hosted Powwows

American Indian tribes in North Carolina are major economic drivers as owners of businesses and administrators of major state and federally funded programs. One component of this economic impact are tribally sponsored powwows and other cultural events that serve as important social gatherings for these communities, but also economic stimulus. In most cases, these celebrations are public, which attract visitors and participants from outside the local area. The purpose of this project is to estimate the economic impact of these events. NCGrowth will conduct surveys and interviews with key stakeholders to determine the amount of spending generated by these events. This data will be used to conduct an economic impact analysis using IMPLAN, an input/output economic modelling software.

Erwin Downtown Redevelopment Workshop

NCGrowth partnered with the Construction Professionals Network Institute (CPNI) to offer a downtown redevelopment workshop in the Town of Erwin. The two-day workshop was held November 16-17, during which CPNI members and NCGrowth staff met with town leaders and community members to discuss how the town can leverage existing built assets in their downtown to spur economic development. CPNI members toured priority buildings including a mill, a school, and several downtown sites to assess conditions and make recommendations on renovation and reuse.

CPNI is a 501(c)(3) corporation that grew out of the Construction Professionals Network of North Carolina in 2010. CPNI recruits CPN members to volunteer their design and construction industry expertise to help rural North Carolina communities repurpose abandoned or underutilized buildings and districts.

Artificial Intelligence Research

In partnership with Dr. Michael Kay in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at NCSU, NCGrowth is conducting a general study of artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications for small and midsized manufacturers in North Carolina. The research is focusing on AI applications by process (transportation, marketing, inventory, etc), with the intent of giving businesses across a range of industries an understanding of how they may implement AI. An ad-hoc advisory board of small manufacturers is reviewing and providing input on the research.

Mount Gilead Downtown Redevelopment Workshop

In partnership with the Construction Professionals Network Institute (CPNI), NCGrowth conducted a downtown redevelopment workshop in the Town of Mount Gilead. The two-day workshop was held April 12-13 during which CPNI members and NCGrowth staff met with town leaders and community members to discuss how the town can leverage existing built assets in their downtown to spur economic development.

Robbins Compensation Study

This project is drawing on the example of Situs – an international real estate firm which ‘onshored’ an office in Robbins 10 years ago – to help the Town of Robbins articulate the local labor market opportunity to businesses interested in expanding or locating new facilities in Robbins. NCGrowth is conducting compensation study to assess the prevailing pay rates for employees by education and experience level in Robbins and the surrounding area, including Montgomery, Randolph, and southwest Lee counties. A survey is being administered in partnership with the Town of Robbins, the county economic developer, Situs, and other large employers. Additional research will draw on public labor market and cost of living data sources.

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InnovateEC meeting

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NCGrowth at the Lumbee Powwow

NCGrowth’s mission is to create good jobs and equitable opportunities for people in rural communities and economically challenged areas.

Learn more about projects with businesses