RALEIGH — Seeking to capitalize on the strong military presence and related defense support industries, the North Carolina Technology Association and MCNC have presented a formal plan for the creation of a business incubator related to defense.
The NCTA, which is the new name for the North Carolina Electronics and Information technology Association, and MCNC laid out their strategy to plan to the North Carolina General Assembly on Monday. Funding for the writing of the plan had been approved by legislators last year.
The long-term goal of the proposed Defense Technology Innovation Center would be job and business creation with a focus on homeland security. The plan reportedly calls for spending $5 million over three years.
Among the supporters is state Senator Tony Rand, one of North Carolina’s most powerful Democrats.
Fayetteville is already home to one rapidly growing company that has links to the military. Advanced Internet Technologies, a provider of various web and Internet services with an international client base, was founded by a group of former Army officers. AIT is mulling plans for going public.
“This plan outlines an exciting opportunity for North Carolina to take a leadership role in preventing, detecting and fighting global terrorism,” said Joan Myers, president and chief executive officer of NCTA, in a statement. “This initiative, combined with Fayetteville’s strengths in business attraction, trained workforce and quality of life have the potential for job creation as start-up companies ‘graduate’ from the Innovation Center and begin producing products and growing their operations in North Carolina.”
MCNC has supported the project as part of its commitment to state-wide economic development.
North Carolina is home to several of the Pentagon’s largest and most high profile military installations, from Marine bases in and around Jacksonville and the sprawling Army, Air Force and Special Forces complex in Fayetteville and surrounding Cumberland County.
Homeland security related spending continues to swell in the the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 and the continuing global war on terror.
The consulting firm Business Cluster Development was retained for the project.
Also involved were the Cumberland County Business Council and Fayetteville Technical Community College.
“The Cumberland County Business Council is fully supportive of NCTA’s efforts and is pleased to have worked with them in drafting this innovative plan,” said Bill Martin, president of the Cumberland County Business Council, in a statement. “We are hopeful that the plan will connect the business and technology communities with the military community in Cumberland County, leading to further development and growth for our region and the State.”