Raleigh and Durham rank as top cities to start a business in the U.S.: Wallethub

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BySamantha Kummerer WTVD logo
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Raleigh and Durham rank as top cities to start a business
A new WalletHub report released on Monday reported multiple North Carolina cities as top spots to start a new business. Durham, Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem all ranked high.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new WalletHub report released on Monday reported multiple North Carolina cities as top spots to start a new business.

The report factored in the business environment, access to resources and business costs across 100 cities.

The North Carolina cities that ranked pretty high are:

  • Durham (5th)
  • Charlotte (8th)
  • Raleigh (11th)
  • Winston Salem (13th)

This finding doesn't surprise Ashley Cagle, the Wake County Economic Development Vice President at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

"It's one thing for us to see the success and for it to be a part of our work, but it's another when there's some validation that comes through," she said. "It's important to benchmark ourselves to other cities."

Cagle said in Raleigh the growth has been evident as the number and type of businesses grow.

"So one of the things that are really valuable about our market is that we have strengths in multiple industry sectors," she said. "So from life sciences to technology and advanced manufacturing, we've enjoyed some success across all of those, which makes for good times even in strange times."

Cagle shared 137 businesses have expanded and started in Raleigh over the past two years. This growth has led to nearly 13,000 new jobs and $4 billion in investments.

Rama Moorthy is one of the business owners who chose to move her business to Oak City. She started her tech company, Hatha Systems, which helps digitize companies' operations in Washington D.C. in 2018

"I know the skill set that's required of the kind of technology we have as well. And just looking at well-being in Washington, DC, the skill set is just not there from a scalability standpoint," she explained.

But, the Triangle does have the workforce with the necessary skills to help her business grow. WalletHub's study did take into account both 'human capital availability' and the working-age population.

"Not only is there big data analytics here in the tech industry but there's also big data analytics in the agricultural bio and biotech as well. So the diversity of skill set in that specific space is so vast here that our ability to essentially draw from the pool of candidates that are available is actually here better than anywhere else," Moorthy said.

She also acknowledged that this pool of candidates draws a lot of tech companies so she will face competition in attracting workers.

"There is going to be a challenge because Apple and Facebook and all these entities are still coming here. So and those guys need analytics folks as well and so there is going to be a bit of a challenge," she said.

Moorthy remains optimistic that the environment and work of her business will be different enough to attract certain employees. Jonathan Collins, the director of the Durham Tech Small Business Center, said they have seen an uptick of businesses across all sectors looking for help as they form and grow.

"Having the three major research universities and research Triangle Park is what kind of started people being interested in the area. But now all of these university programs are starting to spin out new businesses based on the research and the discoveries they're making and that, in turn, has started to attract some of these other businesses from outside," Collins said.

He partially credits recent federal grants as one reason for an increase in resources and growth in local businesses. He said the workforce does continue to be a concern that the center is working to help combat.

"We are working at a regional level to make sure that we are providing specific job skills training so people can be competitive in those new tech-specific jobs," Collins said. "We're really focused on, again, some of those biomedical lab assistant positions. Anything in the health space is always going to be really key... there are certain industries that are suffering more than others."

Collins said he also thinks the downtowns and in-person work need to continue to revamp up to help further long-term success.

"I think the challenges that we're grappling with now really revolve around big macro trends, like Hybrid work and remote work," Cagle said. "We're seeing a lot of companies who would like to have their workforce be in the office full-time struggle with the balance."

Stakeholders said North Carolina will make it through these challenges and continue attracting business.

"Companies have always found Raleigh and really the Research Triangle, in general, to be made up of a workforce that is nimble and flexible and creative," Cagle said. "And we have seen companies take advantage of that because it brings them a better culture for their company."


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