North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2014

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"This revitalization is about North Carolina getting back to its very best, though it might look slightly different today." service. We are improving our organizational structure. We are combining the different subsets throughout the state into one team. We will move faster on business inquiries than any other state. We will grow existing businesses. Sharon understands business, recruitment and talent. Decker: I focused on our strengths and weaknesses when putting the plan together. Businesses want government to be faster, more nimble and more proactive. Today's business environment is more competitive. The state wasn't in a favorable position on taxes, but that has changed with reforms passed in the recent General Assembly session. That's the challenge: build on a remarkable history to make this state great again. What is the updated brand? McCrory: The state's strengths — quality of life, talent, a variety of industries and education — are well-documented. We are going to build upon our past strengths but look at them in a different light and sell them in a different way. They need to be integrated into one team with one approach. They need to be promoted through one consistent and concise message that can come from anywhere in the state. If we are going to have a sustainable economy in this country and state, we've got to have one with industries that produce and innovate. We can't live on the service industry or the government, because someone has to pay the bills. Some people have given up on manufacturing, but I haven't. There are unique niches where North Carolina's manufacturing strength will grow. Agriculture, the state's largest industry, has great potential thanks to the state's established and growing biotechnology cluster. The state will open more doors to the energy industry. When I was mayor, Charlotte set out to be an energy hub, where the future of nuclear plants, gas plants and solar would be written. That goal has been reached. We want to open a door to energy exploration, on land and offshore. Decker: At its root, North Carolina is an agricultural and manufacturing state. If you look at our history, our economic strength has been built around those sectors. Add to that entrepreneurship and small-business development and North Carolina has a remarkable history of startups developing into amazing businesses. Look at the evolution of banking here. Look at companies such as Matthews-based Family Dollar Stores Inc., which has more than 7,000 stores across the country. This revitalization is about North Carolina getting back to its very best, though it might look slightly different today. What we knew as manufacturing is now advanced manufacturing, which cuts across many sectors, from textiles to aerospace to agriculture. One challenge has been the heavy investment in manufacturing. We want to take advantage of that but apply it in a more diverse way than it has been historically. North Carolina leads biotechnology as it relates to agriculture. That offers an opportunity to make the state great by building on what made it good. Big data and data management are growing sectors. Financial services continue to grow. That needs to continue. What can site-selectors who have worked with North Carolina in the past expect in the future? How will things be different? Decker: Customer service will be the biggest difference. It will be a one-stop shop. Developers can make one contact, get all the information that they need, expeditiously and accurately. McCrory: We are going to focus on them so they can make money and grow. And at times we'll get out of their way. We are going to help them with regulations, taxes and making their employees part of this community. We are going to build a relationship. It's the total package. 12 No rt h C arol i Na E CoNo mi C DE v Elo p mE N t Gu iDE

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