All states have economic development organizations, but their structures differ. Most handle economic development activity through a public agency, often under the executive branch of government.
North Carolina is one of a growing number of states taking a different approach. Four years ago, the state created the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), an independent, private non-profit that brings a private sector perspective to the task of attracting and growing business in North Carolina.
North Carolina’s thinking is to harness the knowledge, experience and support of private industry in our efforts to assist other companies find the right place to thrive in the state.
EDPNC is governed by a 17-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Governor and leadership of each house of the Legislature. Its members come mostly from current and former successful North Carolina businesses, with a wide variety of backgrounds. That brings business, industry and geographic diversity to oversee the EDPNC team of seasoned economic development professionals who are managed by Christopher Chung, a nationally prominent economic developer with nearly twenty years experience. EDPNC’s board is not unlike those of successful private companies. It serves the same role in assuring that an experienced outside perspective helps the organization achieve its goals.
EDPNC is funded both by a contract with the NC Department of Commerce and by private investment to provide economic development services. We work closely with the Secretary of Commerce and North Carolina’s Governor to meet the needs of business.
EDPNC combines five business groups. They are all related in their mission to bring jobs and investment to the state. They are:
- Business Recruitment – Bringing new industry to North Carolina
- Business Expansion – Helping current North Carolina businesses grow
- International Trade – Helping current North Carolina businesses export goods and services
- Business Link – Helping entrepreneurs and new small business startups
- Tourism – Attracting tourists and visitors to North Carolina
Each of these business groups is staffed with specialists in their area of expertise. They work in concert with each other to help the vibrant North Carolina economy continue to thrive.
Business Recruitment focuses on providing businesses outside North Carolina or in foreign countries with the information and assistance needed to locate sites, navigate financial incentives and permitting, and resolve infrastructure and workforce requirements.
Business Expansion provides similar services to businesses already in North Carolina. Once you’re here, we don’t forget about you. We continue to help businesses succeed.
International Trade helps North Carolina businesses enter and navigate export markets by providing education, identifying overseas sales opportunities, setting up customized searches for distributors or agents and leading delegations to international trade shows. We have seven foreign offices in Canada, Mexico, Europe, South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong to assist us.
Business Link provides small business counselors to help entrepreneurs understand the process and legal requirements of starting a new business in North Carolina. They answer questions about licensing and permits and make referrals to the appropriate local, state and federal agencies.
Tourism markets North Carolina as a destination for leisure travel, group tours, meetings and conventions, sports events, film production and retirement. We create statewide marketing, advertising and brochures and also coordinate with local tourism boards by providing cooperative marketing and advertising opportunities.
North Carolina is replete with abundant resources, infrastructure and a diverse labor force. We have one of the best performing economies in the nation and are committed to continue to grow with quality companies. EDPNC is charged with helping to achieve that.
When businesses work with North Carolina, they get the best of both worlds: a public/private partnership designed to serve all their needs.
For more information or to get in touch, visit the EDPNC website.
Board of Directors, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC)
Mark Zimmerman owns a real estate brokerage and was appointed for a four year term to the EDPNC Board of Directors in 2016.