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Report to detail economic impact of Charlotte’s entrepreneurial community

Aspiring entrepreneurs map out plans for a startup called Plate Share during the 2013 Charlotte Startup Weekend. The Charlotte-based Business Innovation & Growth Council will compile a report that evaluates the city’s entrepreneurial muscle.
Aspiring entrepreneurs map out plans for a startup called Plate Share during the 2013 Charlotte Startup Weekend. The Charlotte-based Business Innovation & Growth Council will compile a report that evaluates the city’s entrepreneurial muscle. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

▪ By mid-summer, Charlotte city and business leaders will have a full snapshot of the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem – or the lack thereof.

Terry Cox, president of the Business Innovation & Growth Council, is partnering with UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute and Ventureprise to produce a comprehensive report collecting employee, revenue and other data from local privately-owned growth-stage companies that will gauge just how much entrepreneurs impact the local economy.

Once its finished, city leaders and the Charlotte Chamber will receive copies of the study – called the Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report – in hopes of educating them about entrepreneurial activity teeming “in our backyard,” Cox said.

“I think that most of the corporations here don’t get this entrepreneurial community,” she said. “(The report) raises the visibility of what’s going on.”

And organizers hope it attracts more tech-talent and startups with high-growth potential.

“When (that) comes, funding follows,” Cox said. “The funding doesn’t come if (investors) don’t think the talent’s here.”

The data will benchmark Charlotte against other cities, Cox said, and survey people in the community.

She hopes at least 200 firms participate. The Urban Institute will house each company’s data in a confidential database, she said. Companies interested in participating can go to http://svy.mk/1JNCoEx. The deadline is May 1. Cox expects to release the report in July.

▪  On Monday and Tuesday, insurance giant Allstate will host an agency ownership event at the Westin Charlotte. The Illinois-based company hopes to draw would-be business owners who have considered working in insurance, and encourage business ownership among women and minorities, said Cherise Richardson, coordinator for Allstate’s Southeast division.

The program launched a year ago in Atlanta, but expands to Charlotte for the first time this year, she said.

New owners don’t have to pay franchise fees, but need between $50,000 to $75,000 in capital to get started. Franchisees will be assigned a field sales leader who will help them make a business plan, understand cash flow and obtain their insurance licensing, she said.

The franchised locations will be completely new offices, Richardson said. Allstate hopes to open 30 to 40 new agencies in the state. Richardson didn’t have specific details about Charlotte.

The event starts at 5 p.m. Monday and at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. To register, call 678-589-5572, or email Richardson at Cherice.Richardson@Allstate.com.

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