North Carolina was recognized as one of the nation’s leading tech states by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation during a press conference yesterday in the Old House Chamber of the North Carolina State Capitol.
Governor Pat McCrory was joined by Carolyn Cawley, Managing Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation; S. Lewis Ebert, President and CEO of the North Carolina Chamber; and Geoff Lang, Vice President and General Manager of Global Technology and Operations for MetLife.
“I am proud of what we’ve accomplished in improving North Carolina’s business climate and strengthening efforts to recruit and retain businesses,” Governor McCrory said. “I’d like to thank the U.S. Chamber Foundation for recognizing our efforts to encourage innovation in our economy by naming North Carolina as one of the best states for innovation and entrepreneurship, and high-tech performance.”
North Carolina ranked 10th in both the high-tech performance and innovation and entrepreneurship categories of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s sixth-annual Enterprising States: State Innovate Study. The study ranks states best poised to thrive in the rapidly evolving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused economy. The study ranks the top 10 states in the categories of economic performance; transportation and trade; innovation and entrepreneurship; business climate; talent pipeline; and high-tech performance.
“Governor Pat McCrory can be credited with succeeding at leveraging research conducted at North Carolina’s universities to serve as a vehicle to grow the state’s economy,” said Cawley. “Through North Carolina’s Innovation to Jobs initiative, the state seeks to position itself as the third vertex in the National Innovation Triangle and has created a venture multiplier fund designed to invest in venture capital companies focused on supporting homegrown business startups.”
“In North Carolina, Governor McCrory and the legislature are committed to working together to grow our state’s economy. It is great to see the research of the U.S. Chamber Foundation validate that,” said Ebert. “We have made generational reforms to our state’s tax code and transportation network, increased alignment between business, universities and government, and focused on creating an environment where innovation can thrive. This report is another accolade that reminds the rest of the nation, North Carolina is open for business.”
Since entering office, Governor McCrory has worked towards creating an atmosphere that inspires innovation in North Carolina. The North Carolina Innovation Center (all the cool kids call it “The iCenter”) was created as a way for state government to try technology before purchasing it. This has saved taxpayers at least $6 million and has become a national model for other states.
The Innovation to Jobs initiative was started to reach Governor McCrory’s goal to make North Carolina the third vertex of a National Innovation Triangle. The goal of Innovation to Jobs (I2J) is to help North Carolina leverage research occurring at its world-class universities and community colleges and convert their findings into patents and jobs that will strengthen the state’s economy.
Governor McCrory cited the Connect NC bond package that will go before voters in March as a way to further invest in innovation. Connect NC would dedicate more than $1.3 billion to North Carolina’s university and community college systems for things like new science labs across the state.
“Innovation is the key to a growing 21st century economy,” said Governor McCrory. “It’s encouraging that our efforts to support innovation are being recognized around the country. We will continue to emphasize entrepreneurship and creativity so that innovation becomes a key factor in every North Carolina economic sector and continues to be a role model for other states.”