Economic Development

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Come and Get Em'

There aren't a lot of things free in the world these days, and if my dad were alive he'd be sure to remind me there's always some hidden cost. That said, the chamber's king of research, Tony Crumbley, came into my office earlier this week and slapped down two brand new city street maps. 

Right about now you're probably thinking who uses a hard copy map anymore? Well, the truth is a whole heck of a lot more people than you might think! As a matter of fact, our receptionist frequently answers calls from folks trying to find out where to purchase the most recent copy. Occassionally, people even wander off the street asking for them.

Perhaps it's because many of you share "on the road" similarities with me: Your car is old (and inexpensive) enough it doesn't include a navigational system and your mobile phone is no where close to 4G status. Every time I google while driving all I get is frustration. So you see, a handy fold up map to toss in the glove compartment seems awful handy.

Honestly, I've never been good with directions. I could use all the help I can get and besides - it's free! That is as long as you don't mind stopping by our offices any time Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to pick one up. Sure, Tony and his crew will be glad to mail one out to you, but it will cost you three bucks (and with the cuts to the postal system it could take days to arrive).  I guess my dad would argue; "It still cost the gas to get there," or "How about parking?" All very valid points if you don't work Uptown, don't think you'll be by this way at any time in the near future or simply like to debate things. Me, I'm sticking one in my work bag and putting it in my car tonight.



Posted by: Natalie Dick @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (4)
Friday, July 29, 2011
Getting Excited Over Healthcare

 When you ask most people what the dominant industry is in Charlotte they will typically tell you banking. That response is generally the same both inside and outside the community. While banking is a major component of our economic base, it is actually surpassed in terms of employment numbers by the healthcare industry. Many people are surprised to learn that the Carolinas Healthcare System is the largest employer by far in this market with more than 26,000 employees. Presbyterian Hospital is also a major employer with more than 9,000 employees.

 Utilizing a grant from the N.C. Biotech Center, the Charlotte Chamber recently conducted a study to determine the actual number of companies in the area that are connected to the healthcare/biotech/life science sector. Surprisingly, there are more than 772 firms in the Charlotte area representing everything from hospitals to clinics to medical device manufacturing to research and development labs. Those firms employ more than 86,000 people. This compares to 52,000 people employed in the banking and financial services industry.

 The chamber has identified five key industry target sectors on which we are focusing our proactive outreach activities: energy, financial services, healthcare/life science, motorsports and aerospace/defense. In addition we are focusing on recruiting corporate headquarters and international business from Europe and Asia.

 One of our recent headquarters relocation successes also has ties to the healthcare industry. Premier, Inc. announced in the fall of 2009 that they would relocate their corporate headquarters from San Diego to Charlotte, adding 300 jobs to the base of 700 employees that they already had in Charlotte. Premier is the largest healthcare alliance in the nation serving more than 2,500 hospitals and 73,000 other healthcare sites. It provides purchasing clout to its members helping to lower the cost of healthcare. It also provides data to its members to help them find areas for process improvement and cost savings.

 Along with the Carolinas Healthcare System, Premier has been a major driver behind the scene helping to grow the healthcare sector in Charlotte. In April this year, Premier allowed the chamber to entertain a group of vendors in town for meetings with Premier executives. The chamber hosted a reception at which we were able to make a soft sell pitch to Premier’s vendors regarding Charlotte as a potential place for them to locate their business. This event enabled us to utilize some creative technology to sell Charlotte. In addition to thumb drives containing customized data on Charlotte that were given to the event attendees, we printed special name tags and business cards with a QR code on them. When an attendee at the event scanned the QR code with their smart phones, they were directed to a special web page with information customized for the event and their industry. Thanks to Premier opening this group to us for our sales pitch, we identified two new prospects and laid the groundwork for other companies to consider Charlotte in the future. We plan to host additional groups of Premier suppliers in the coming months with similar events.

 We see this as just the beginning for the healthcare industry in Charlotte. As the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis matures and begins to spin off growth oriented companies, Charlotte will be a primary beneficiary of that activity. Other companies already here are working on developing medical devices and other products that will keep us alive longer and live healthier lives. Now that is something we can all get excited about.

Posted by: Jeff Edge, Senior Vice President Economic Development, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce @ 6:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Friday, July 8, 2011
Charlotte’s Million Dollar Corporations Grows from 957 Firms to 3,464 or Does It?

The most recent listing of firms within Mecklenburg with revenues greater than $1 million totals 3,464.  This is quite an increase from the 2010 listing of 957 firms.  What has caused this change?  Previous reports were extracted from Dun & Bradstreet’s Database of Million Dollar Corporations.  This list included mainly headquartered companies in Mecklenburg.  The 2011 listing is extracted from Hoover’s Database, a Dun & Bradstreet Company.  This database includes all corporations regardless of their headquarters location. In total, 402 companies are located within Mecklenburg with revenue greater than $10 million.

To read an overview of the report click here.

Posted by: Tony Crumbley @ 9:42:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Benchmark Charlotte 2011

For four years the chamber has been producing a benchmarking report to guide inter city visit participants to better understand how Charlotte compares to cities visited.  This report compares 30 indicators for eight MSA’s.  The indicators reflect five broad areas of interest:  employment and labor force, income and productivity, livability and connectivity, new economy, and equity and diversity.

In this year’s report, Austin ranks #1 in overall rank, Charlotte #2 and Seattle ranks #3.

Charlotte, North Carolina, compare Charlotte to other cities, Charlotte Chamber, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte NC, Charlotte North Carolina, Charlotte Business, Charlotte Relocation, Moving to Charlotte, Charlotte Information, Queen City, Economic Development, Charltte, Chrlotte, Charlote

Click the image to download a
PDF of Benchmark Charlotte 2011

Posted by: Tony Crumbley @ 11:18:27 am  Comments (0)
Monday, June 6, 2011
Tracking MWBEs in Charlotte

The U.S. Bureau of Census has just recently released the survey of business owners which provides information about minority and women owned businesses.  These reports have produced some interesting findings.  The survey is conducted every five years with the latest release being from the 2007 survey.  Prior to this, the 2002 survey was the most current.

 The most surprising finding was the lack of growth in women and black owned firms between 2002 and 2007.  During the 1997 to 2002 time frame, we saw a growth of 80 percent in the number of women and minority firms yet the 2007 numbers indicated an overall decline in women and black owned firms that employ individuals.

                    Mecklenburg Minority Owned Firms

                              2002         2007         Change

Women               3,120        3,020            -100

Black                      734           701              -33

Asian                      768        1,195             427

Hispanic                338           397               59

 Taking into account this survey was taken before the recession began makes this decline even more significant.

 As one looks at these survey findings, it is easy to understand why these businesses are important to this community.  Within Mecklenburg their total payroll amounts to $1.3 billion which is paid to 45,986 individuals.  That’s more employees than the banking community has within Mecklenburg.

 For Charlotte to have a strong economy, we must maintain a diverse economy.  Each of these sectors has a place within Charlotte’s economy.  To ensure we are doing all we can to support growth within these sectors, the Charlotte Chamber with UNC Charlotte and Pride magazine has begun a research effort to identify all these firms and analyze their location and more importantly determine where they are not located and where we might be able to recruit such companies to the community.

 If you are a woman or minority owned firm, we would love to hear from you.  Drop us an email at


Posted by: Tony Crumbley @ 4:29:50 pm  Comments (0)
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