2022 Ecosystem Summit
NC IDEA will host its annual Ecosystem Summit on November 14-15, 2022 in Winston-Salem, NC. Attendees will reconnect in person this year as we showcase the growth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem that supported a record-breaking number of new high-propensity firm filings since 2020. The Summit is the only statewide conference of its kind that uniquely brings together diverse leaders in the North Carolina entrepreneurial ecosystem, alongside economic development professionals, to address what is needed to support all entrepreneurs and create a shared vision of making North Carolina the best place to start and grow a business.
For each of the topics outlined below, the 2022 Ecosystem Summit will showcase national thought leaders alongside on-the-ground, local practitioners and entrepreneurs leading the way to make North Carolina the best — and most equitable — place to start and grow a high-impact company.
#1 Redefining Best Practices in Economic Development
Economic development is commonly thought of as offering generous incentives to large established companies to either move or expand to a specific area. The rationalization is that such incentives are needed to attract jobs and construction related activity in return for publicly subsidized expansion. But what is the real return on investment of mega deals for mega companies? What effect do these deals have on local companies seeking to access talent and resources without these subsidies? How do we enhance the prosperity and wealth building opportunities for all residents? Are there better ways to create jobs and spur economic activity that don’t leave our homegrown entrepreneurs feeling left behind? Speaker/s will address these questions and more, including supporting our hometown heroes that are organically starting companies that strengthen our economy and communities.
#2 Ensuring Economic Development is Equitable
Economic opportunity for some, but not for all, only widens the fractures that keep us divided and from realizing our full economic potential. We will discuss why an equitable approach to economic development isn’t only the right thing to do, but the smart way to unleash greater economic output and overcome systemic wealth gaps while making our economy more resilient. Hear from folk/s why and how to make sure we aren’t leaving anyone behind.
#3 The Politics of Economic Development
In times of great political acrimony, is there something that everyone can agree on and work together to support? Spending priorities, the urban vs. rural narrative, inflation blame game, and other polarizing prose creates further division and discontent. Perhaps supporting the entrepreneurial potential of individuals is where we can find common ground. We will hear from people suggesting ways to have more meaningful and useful conversations supporting the entrepreneurial potential of everyone.
#4 Capital Stack (or Capital Slack?)
Funding options for our high-growth entrepreneurs are expanding as capital becomes more portable. But who is funding the long bets with big impact potential? WHAT options are available to NC entrepreneurs when capital markets don’t fully meet their needs? WHEN do community interest and private interest best work together? HOW do we ensure that access to capital is equitable? Speaker/s will address WHO is actually funding growth in the state and how we can attract more of it.
#5 The Best of North Carolina’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Highly ranked on both the national and global stages, North Carolina has rightfully earned its prominent status as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. Meet some of the great entrepreneurial support organizations, and the incredible entrepreneurs they serve, that make our state one of the best places to start and grow a business. As we illuminate our successes, we must also reaffirm our collective commitment to impact.