WRAL’s Mark Binker has uncovered a December document that spells out a possible plan to privatize much of North Carolina’s Department of Commerce – and a portion of the previously undisclosed proposal should interest entrepreneurs as well as investors.
“Finance would be a one-stop shop to assist in financing business relocation and expansion,” says the document that was prepared for Gov. Pat McCrory long before the governor formally unveiled his thinking several weeks ago.
Here’s the key nugget for the startup community:
“This division would include both an Incentives department and other new access-to-capital divisions, such as an angel fund
network, a state venture fund, and a foreign direct investment center.”
Well, well, well.
“New access-to-capital divisions”
“An angel fund network”
“A state venture fund”
“A foreign direct investment center”
The funding ideas are also included in an organizational chart included in the memo. (The chart is published with this post.)
Capital is the oxygen business startups need for growth, and in North Carolina it remains in short supply.
N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell has designated a portion of the state retirement fund toward investments in startups, but to see the Governor is at least thinking about trying to generate more capital is encouraging.
Where or how the funding might be obtained isn’t spelled out – but at least the need is on the radar screen.
The bottom line: Finding ways to generate more jobs.
As Binker noted, the document spells out how a new-look Commerce Department could itself drive more job creation.
“To improve upon the existing model for effective sales and high-quality customer service, the new model would be restructured into five primary departments: (i) Business Development, (ii) Workforce Development, (iii) Tourism, Film & Sports, (iv) Finance and (v) Policy,” the memo says.
Binker writes that McCrory and his advisors see a governor acting more as a CEO and a Commerce Department operating as a business competing against other states for jobs.
“As described in documents and interviews, the new public-private partnership would run much as a public business would, with a board chaired by the governor and filled by a mix of government appointees and executives from the private sector. Incentive grants would still have to be approved by a public body, but its unclear if or how open meetings and open records laws would attach to the new public-private entity,” Blinker notes.
The reorganization has a long way to go, but for entrepreneurs and investors there are certainly hopeful signs that more oxygen might be generated.