The Ben Craig Center, the nonprofit business incubator affiliated with UNC Charlotte, has changed its name to Ventureprise Inc., its board of directors announced Friday.
The change is part of a new strategy to lead the region in developing a comprehensive innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem to influence public policy and encourage innovation, according to the announcement.
The Charlotte region has many great assets and networks that directly support an entrepreneurs ability to succeed, Ventureprise President Paul Wetenhall said in a news release. Our joint planning with groups across the region identified a gap in strategy, coordination and communications leveraging these resources. That is what the relaunch of The Ben Craig Center as Ventureprise is meant to do.
The public-private Ben Craig Center was established 25 years ago as one of the nations first university-affiliated business incubators. It is expanding its services as a regional resource to support the success of startups and entrepreneurs through education, networking, access to capital and other services. For details, visit ventureprise.org. Kirsten Valle Pittman
Dow regains ground it lost in April; Amazon surges
NEW YORK It took a while, but the Dow Jones industrial average finally gained back all its losses for the month.
Stocks inched higher on a day of conflicting signals, as investors weighed disappointing economic news against reports of higher profits at big companies.
All three major indexes were up Friday, though barely.
The Dow climbed 23.69 points to 13,228.31, a 0.2 percent gain. That was enough to push the index into the black for April. Its now 16 points higher than where it began the month.
The Standard & Poors 500 edged up 3.38 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,403.36. The Nasdaq composite rose 18.59 points, or 0.6 percent, to 3,069.20.
Amazon jumped 16 percent after the online retailer reported a big increase in shipments. Online travel agency Expedia Inc. surged 24 percent on higher profits from its hotel-booking business.
The days stock gains came despite a government report Friday that the U.S. economy grew at annual rate of 2.2 percent, below the 2.5 percent that economists had expected. Associated Press
Ford 1Q earnings fall on losses in Europe and Asia
LOS ANGELES Ford Motor Co. saw earnings dip in the first quarter, hurt by losses in Europe and Asia.
Ford continues do to well in the U.S., the company announced Friday, posting for the quarter its highest operating profit in North America in more than a decade.
Ford earned $1.4 billion, or 35 cents a share, down 46 percent from the $2.6 billion, or 61 cents a share, it made in the same period a year earlier. Sales also slid, falling about 2 percent to $32.5 billion from $33.1 billion.
In the first quarter, Ford in North America reported an operating profit of $2.1 billion, compared to a profit of $1.8 billion a year ago.
Fords Europe operations lost $149 million, down from a profit of $293 million a year ago. The automaker was hurt by the eurozone debt crisis and poor economic conditions in the region. Los Angeles Times
Merck profit rises with sales of diabetes drugs
NEW YORK Merck & Co., the second-largest U.S. drugmaker, reported first-quarter profit Friday that beat analyst estimates on higher sales of its diabetes treatments.
Net income was $1.74 billion, or 56 cents a share, compared with $1.04 billion, or 34 cents, a year earlier.
During the same period last year, Merck took a $500 million charge to settle a dispute with Johnson & Johnson, the Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company said in a statement. Earnings per share excluding one-time items beat by 1 cent the 98-cent average of 18 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Sales rose 1.3 percent to $11.7 billion. Merck is preparing for falling sales of its asthma treatment Singulair after cheaper copies come on the market in August. The company has been cutting thousands of jobs and trying to boost sales to counter the losses. Bloomberg News