Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Entrepreneurs at startups and small businesses remain optimistic about the year ahead despite the sluggish economy, a new survey from the says.

While 6 percent of CED members participating in the online survey plan to “contract,” the others expect their business to “stay the same or expand.”

Funding for operations and the current state of the economy are the CED members’ biggest concerns for the coming 12 months.

Other worries are hiring and talent retention.

“Despite the high unemployment rate, they report that it is difficult to find the right people who understand the dynamics of working in a startup company, and to retain those at risk of burning out,” the CED reported.

Executives participating in the survey also “expressed worries” about credit, cash flow “followed by dissatisfaction with government policy and the unpredictability of world markets,” the CED added,

The past year has not been easy on the CED’s ranks, either.

Some 21 percent said their business contracted with 50 percent reporting that they “expanded a little” or “expanded a lot.”

Percept research conducted the survey for the CED in feburary and March.

Other survey points:

70 percent have fewer than 50 employees

55 percent of those do business outside the U.S.

Of those 12 percent plan to expand overseas efforts this year

Sources of funding vary for the companies in the survey.

Most are self-funded, relying on savings, friends and family, and credit cards.

18 percent have angel funding

13 percent have venture capital funding

Other funding sources include:

  • 15 percent, grants and awards
  • 15 percent, bank loans
  • 14 percent, corporate partners

“The response to CED’s member survey and focus group sessions provide insight into the state of entrepreneurship in our community,” said CED President Joan Siefert Rose in a statement.

“It is a sign of optimism that despite continuing uncertainty over the state of the economy, our member companies are poised for growth,” she added. “The findings also confirm that despite their small size, entrepreneurial companies are acting globally when it comes to finding new markets for their products and services.”

Founded in 1984, the CED has more than 5,500 members.

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