North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper opened the 33rd CED Tech Venture Conference in Raleigh by extolling the state’s education system, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and “commitment to diversity.”

“We need to send a message to the world that North Carolina is a place that values diversity. We want all types of people and no discrimination and that includes the LGBT community. That’s not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do,” he said.

Cooper signed into law a repeal of the controversial HB2, known as the “bathroom bill,” in March.

The state has the right ingredients to foster the entrepreneurial spirit, he said, citing The American Underground in Durham, and HQ Raleigh for helping create “the kind of environment that supports entrepreneurs and gives them the help they need.”

Cooper also said the state needs to continue its commitment to education, from pre-school to the university level, noting the state has increased the number of kindergarten slots to 75 percent of the waiting list. “Data shows that students who go to kindergarten do much better in school,” he said.

Education is extremely important in the state’s economic development efforts, he added. “When I talk to CEOs and ask what is the number one thing I can do to help you, the number one answer 90-plus percent of the time is workforce.”

Cooper cited several entrepreneurial success stories.

“Archived Social started in 2014 with four people and now employs 100,” he said. “Sharefile, bought by Citrix, employs nearly 800 today. And SAS one of the most respected tech companies started small at North Carolina State University.

“We can have more and more success stories if we create the environment and culture for entrepreneurs to succeed and for their work ethic to thrive.”