If you’ve been a regular reader of the WRAL Techwire then you probably have read about the local startup scene ranging from Bull City Forward, Triangle StartUp Factory, HUB Raleigh or ExitEvent and now StartupNC. Sounds like startup fever is taking over in the metropolitan areas of North Carolina, but what about in the rural parts of the state?

Could such an initiative, as Bull City or HUB Raleigh exist in places far removed from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities?

For the past six months a group of business and community leaders, including myself, has been working to answer that very question in Moore County.

Situated roughly 70 miles southwest of Raleigh, a place that probably hasn’t been on your radar screen unless you like to golf, actually has a lot of the ingredients needed for real grassroots growth. Moore County is home to FirstHealth of the Carolinas, a highly ranked public school system and community college (Sandhills), and is close proximity to Ft. Bragg. It sports a good number of entrepreneurs, retired and semi-retired successful businesspersons, military members and contractors. Moore also has a pretty good quality of life to boot (even if you’re not a golfer).

All of these ingredients along with the sweat equity of the community have led to the beginning of what is Moore Forward.

Inside Moore Forward

What is Moore Forward? It is the hub for entrepreneurs in the Moore County region. Moore Forward seeks to be a model of grassroots entrepreneurial effort for rural North Carolina.

Our goal is to build high-impact, high-growth enterprises in our part of the state. It is a hub for co-working space, building connections, finding mentors, and helping entrepreneurs to take their idea or small business to the next level of growth.

One of the keys for Moore Forward, is the realization that yes we might have some twenty something programmer-types wanting to start the next SaaS, but more likely our entrepreneurs will be former and transitioning military, transplants or returnees to our area. So, Moore Forward initially will work to focus on the innovation clusters (wellness, military, technology) we think will be the most beneficial to growth, but be open to other avenues for success.

Moore Forward will kick off with an informal event at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst on Tuesday, January 15th at 6pm. We’d like to invite the startup community in the Triangle to attend and help us usher in what we hope is the start of something that will be common site in every community in North Carolina.

For more information about Moore Forward visit http://www.mooreforward.org and to get the specifics on the kick-off event visit our event page at https://mooreforward.eventbrite.com

Board of Advisors

Members of the Board of Advisors include:

  • David Christaldi – President, Advanced Perfusion Care, Inc.
  • Pat Corso – Executive Director, Moore County Partners in Progress
  • Patrick Coughlin – President, Moore County Chamber
  • John Dempsey – President, Sandhills Community College
  • Michael Griffin, CFO, Moore County Public Schools
  • Anita Holt – President & CEO, St. Joseph of the Pines
  • Dave Kilarski – President & CEO, FirstHealth
  • Andi Korte – Dean of Continuing Education, Sandhills Community College
  • Tom McPherson – Serial Entrepreneur
  • John Parker – Executive Director, Good Work
  • Susan Purser – Retired Superintendent, Moore County Public Schools
  • Jeremy Reynolds – Co-Founder, Tangram Media, Inc.
  • Aaron Spence – Superintendent, Moore County Public Schools
  • Matt West – Founder, Intangibles, LLC
  • Fenton Wilkinson – Executive Director, Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative
  • David Woronoff – Publisher, The Pilot

Editor’s note: Jeremy Reynolds holds a leadership role with Moore Forward and is a member of the Board of Advisors. He’s also an entrepreneur and pilot in the Air Force Reserve. You can reach Jeremy at jeremy@mooreforward.org