North Carolina’s destination as a location for new jobs – especially in high-tech – has been battered and bruised since the passage of HB2. But the Council for Entrepreneurial Development through the voices of its members is trying to counter the avalanche of bad publicity with a “WhyNC” campaign.

The CED has posted more than 20 blog post from members who were asked to explain why they chose to locate in North Carolina and continue to grow here, not elsewhere. Firms ranging from Wilmington to the Triangle to Charlotte and Asheville have chosen to participate.

However, a spokesperson for the CED says the effort is not just a response to HB2.

“This isn’t an effort tied to one particular policy or meant to side with a particular view or group,” Steve Hinkson, CED’s Director of Communication, told WRAL TechWire.

“No matter what your public policy views the reality is there has been negative attention directed toward NC over the past few months. We wanted to focus on the positive and change that conversation. We have so much to celebrate, especially in our entrepreneurial communities across the state. We thought it was important to give those entrepreneurs a voice to tell their stories and share why they love those communities.”

What companies are saying

“I don’t know that it’s so much what we have that others don’t as much as what we do with what we have better than others. NC has been subject to some negative press but North Carolinians want to get back to talking about our world-class educational institutions and our world-class businesses of all sizes, including some of the most diverse and successful startups in the US,” wrote Donald Thompson, CEO of Creative Allies in Raleigh

“Our environment for business, inclusion and success at all stages of your firm are here locally and available.”

The high-tech sector from startups to global players like IBM, Cisco and Red Hat has been especially outspoken in attacks against House Bill 2, which is seen as discriminatory against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenger community. And HB2 has become a red-hot political issues with the election just a week away.

While not even mentioning HB2, the CED’s CEO Joan Siefert Rose says the group saw a need to “celebrate” the positive aspects of doing business in North Carolina.

“We thought it was important to shine a light on our successful entrepreneurs, the welcoming communities they’ve built, and how North Carolina has helped them grow their companies,” Rose said. “We’ve seen a lot of negative attention focused on our state in the past six months. Many of the founders who shared their stories through WhyNC could have started their businesses anywhere but they chose North Carolina, and we should celebrate that.”

Entrepreneurs stressed quality of life, a talented work force and multiple other reasons for doing business in N.C.

Thompson, for example, cited three positives about the stae’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

“Inclusion – you succeed based on your productivity and not your pedigree •

“Value – from education to recreation, NC gives you a world class experience at a price that most people can afford

“Underestimated – historically an agricultural state, NC has experienced explosive growth in technology and life sciences”

It must be noted, however, that the founding of these ventures predates HB2.

Speaking up for North Carolina are executives from:

  • 2ULaundry, Charlotte
  • ArchiveSocial, Durham
  • Automated Insights, Durham
  • Bivarus, Durham
  • Creative Allies, Raleigh
  • Deference Design, Cary and Apex
  • Divvy Investments, Cary
  • Elite Innovations, LLC, Wilmington
  • ILM Wellness, Wilmington
  • iScribes Inc., Durham
  • MATI Energy, Durham
  • Performance Culture, Wilmington
  • Phononic, Durham
  • Practichem, Morrisville
  • ReverbNation, Durham
  • Savii, Inc., Raleigh
  • Smashing Boxes, Durham
  • Stealz, Inc., Raleigh
  • Surgilūm, Wilmington
  • The Sixth Flag, Raleigh
  • UGoTour, Asheville
  • Zift Solutions , Durham and Raleigh

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