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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Hounds notes from the Regional Entrepreneur Summit (Part 1) - January 11. 2012

The following is Part 1 of a summary of the information provided at the conference on Building Entrepreneurial Communities held this morning Wednesday, January 11, 2012 sponsored by the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and the North Carolina Partners in Innovation (NCPI). The conference was held at the Crowne Plaza in Hickory and featured speaker Ted Abernathy who is the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board who believes that "Complex problems need collaborative solutions. Collaboration is not natural, but by following some basic rules communities can use collaboration to create a competitive advantage. Entrepreneurial businesses and collaboration are both a natural fit and a marriage of necessity."

In Part 1 of the presentation you will see local leaders provide ideas, information, and initiatives that can help to turn the Economic plight of our community around. Especially interesting was the information provided by Bill Parrish who is the Director of The Small Business and Technology Development Center and a fellow participant in the Future Economy Council. Much of the information provided within this presentation is relevant to the discussions that have been presented on the Hound. In Part 2, I will write about the Presentation of Ted Abernathy, who in the past was the Director of the Research Triangle Park and wants to work in collaboration to help turn Hickory around. What you will see is that it isn't us against the World. There are many interested parties in this State that want to see this region turn it around and are willing to help us do just that.

Michael Blackburn, CEO of Frye Regional Medical Center and the current chairman of the board of the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce mad introductions for each speaker at the event.

Dr. Jane Everson the Chair of the NCPI explained the purpose of the NCPI and how it consists of the UNC system and the region's Community Colleges along with the four county Chamber of Commerce's. She introduced the top three finalist winners of the Edison project and spoke about entrepreneurial initiatives in the area. Dr. Everson is the outgoing Director of the Appalachian State University - Hickory Partnership and the outgoing chair of the NCPI. It will be hard to fill her shoes in these positions, because she has worked hard getting these initiatives off the ground.

Dr Garrett Hinshaw, President of Catawba Valley Community College was the next speaker. He talked about how hard it was to define entrepreneurship and compared the economy of the 1990s to now. What has happened? The challenge comes in the uncertainty of the future. He spoke about Frye Regional Medical Center and a patient with a fibrillating heart. You have to do something. The community is going to have to provide the shock and create the vision and it includes a role to play for every person in the community. He challenged the people at the conference to help determine what the shock will be. We have to determine that action. The answer has to be created. He introduced Bill Parrish.

Bill Parrish is the Director of the The Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC). He paid complements to the work of Dr.s Hinshaw and Everson. He talked about last years event - (Innovation 2010 - Andrew Hargadon - Creating a Network of Innovation). He gave credit to Dr. Jim Zuiches and Dr. Tom White of NC State University, stating this event couldn't have taken place without their help. Bill spoke of the Catawba County Chamber's role in this event and wanted to emphasize Catawba County Chamber President Danny Hearn's point that this is a regional event. He pointed to the organizations that have supported this event.

Bill talked about a study done by a group called Collaborative Economics. Entrepreneurship and small business plays a key role in economic development and is the single business driver of economic well being, technological innovation, and wealth creation. Entrepreneurs are innovators, connectors, and collaborators raising money from people they don't even know. Entrepreneur - a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk, but their are more definition than can be counted.

Execution - the act of putting ones ideas into action... putting it into a business entity that is sustainable.
He pointed to the movie "The Sound of Music" and how Julie Andrews character got things done in spite of children that didn't like her and an overbearing father. Execution separate the dreamer with an idea from the business visionary who takes it forward and creates jobs. He pointed next to Steve Jobs, the president of Apple.

So what? Who Cares? What me worry? Carrying on with business as usual won't get us where we need to go. Manufacturing in the United States was 20% in 1990 and has fallen to below 12%. Manufacturing in the Catawba County was over 50% in 1990 and has fallen to 27%. Technology Explains Drop in Manufacturing Jobs.

U.S. Manufacturing Productivity and Output.

We have lost 35% of our jobs in the 1987-2010 time period shown in the graph above. 49% of rural folks who become unemployed find work in one year. That means that 51% didn't. 30% of these people made less than half of what they made in their previous job. North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

Dashboard Indicators- Most Communities are not Entrepreneurial
Change in Output - Local Equivalent of the National Gross Domestic Product
Employment Growth
Per Capita Income Growth - Jobs is one thing, but to sustain and grow, you need income growth.

Keys to Regional Growth
Skilled Workforce - We are dead last in educational attainment. Local initiatives have created programs to address this. It will take time to turn around.
Business Dynamics - Churning - Entrepreneurial turmoil where businesses are created and destroyed.
Legacy of Place - The cost of outdated facilities and the effects of a shrinking tax base.
Location Amenities - Quality of Life. Will people want to move here?

Environmental Ecosystem
Assets - Education Infrastructure, Financial Institutions, Broadband
Connections - Networking, Partnerships, Collaboration
Culture - The mindset and attitude of the community towards entrepreneurs of different lifestyles.
Quality of Life - The Environment and pools of talent in a community
Combination - Recipe of Ingredients. The community has to put the ingredients together and make them work.

National Trends 2011
Focus on Region - Action and tangible outcomes of regionalism
Reorganizing Economic Development
Access to Capital - As hard to come by as ever
Tax Incentives - NC has a number of them
New Commitments to Technology Based Economic Development (TBED) - More money being spent on targeted research.
Research Investment
Higher Education & Stem Incentives - Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

Fortune 500 Replacement
Replacement of 1/3 of companies in 1960 took 20 years, in 1983 it took 11 years, in 1999 it was down to 4 years. Those are the big businesses where things turn slower. Think of the smaller businesses and this churn rate. The entrepreneurs are having to outrun the big guys.

Bill next talked about Facebook
130 - Average # of friends of users of Facebook
50% growth of users in 2011
800 million users worldwide
$70 Billion minimum market cap estimate for when the company goes public

Bill wants us to watch a story that will be broadcast on NBC on January 16, 2012 at 10pm that will discuss the restart of Cochran Furniture. The company is being reborn as Lincolnton Furniture. The company CEO is Bruce Cochran and he was interviewed by Carolina Business Review (starts at the 11:00 mark in the video below).

CBR 2115 - Bruce Cochrane, President & CEO, Lincolnton Furniture Company from WTVI Charlotte on Vimeo.

1 comment:

harryhipps said...

Great meeting and I think ideas like we saw and heard help focus what we need to do to get away from lamenting the past and take concrete steps to build the future economy.

It's too bad the mayor didn't use the ticket the City purchased to stay more than 5 minutes and contribute to the local collaborative effort.