Editor’s note: Jess Porta is Executive Director, Raleigh Founded – the new name for HQ Raleigh. Porta announced the name change in a newsletter to “members, partners and friends” on Saturday morning. The entire letter follows.
Dear Members, Partners, and Friends,
I am pleased to announce that as of today, HQ Raleigh is changing its name and taking on a new identity!
HQ Raleigh has always been more than office space, but over time, we have organically evolved into an economic development organization; it’s time we had a name that reflected that. Raleigh Founded is an entrepreneurial community with all of the space and resources of HQ Raleigh, but it also has the drive to be a force for social and economic impact.
Why “Raleigh Founded”?
HQ Raleigh was founded 9 years ago with the goal of attracting companies to incubate, grow, and ultimately stay in the Raleigh community. While HQ Raleigh began as a landing spot for high-impact, high-growth tech companies like Pendo, the need to provide similar resources to all types of companies in the area, became evident. HQ Raleigh quickly adapted to provide space and support for other small businesses as well. It is now home to over 1000 members from over 400 companies, many of whom were founded right here in Raleigh. It is a place where entrepreneurs from all industries and backgrounds can get the space and resources necessary to grow and thrive.
The name ‘Raleigh Founded’ represents community belonging. Since our founding, we have been deeply embedded and connected to Raleigh and from our community hundreds of companies have started and flourished. As we considered our new name, we wanted to honor this heritage and strengthen the connection that entrepreneurs have to the community. Going forward, it’s our hope that companies will state with pride that they are Raleigh Founded.
Virtual resources, talent pipeline, and more resources for existing members
Raleigh Founded will continue to provide space and resources to early stage startup companies. Raleigh Founded is already home to programs such as the Business Law Clinic which provides free legal services to companies in need, the RIOT Accelerator Program (RAP) which helps companies explore their market and refine their business models, and NC State’s Entrepreneurship Clinic, which pairs students with companies to assist on projects. But now, because of the impact of Covid-19, Raleigh Founded also has developed a robust online virtual resource library for its members. Starting in September 2020, members of the Raleigh Founded community will be able to access office-hour style Q&As with business professionals such as accountants, attorneys,investors, mentors, and marketing professionals. They will also be able to ask real time questions to the same professionals. With their presence on NC State’s Centennial campus, members will also be able to “tap into talent” by engaging with the student base to hire highly skilled interns and entry level employees.The Centennial Campus location also allows members to connect with valuable NC State resources such as the Garage prototyping space, the Office of Research and Commercialization, the Wolfpack Investors Network, the SBTDC, and more.
Raleigh Founded is rolling out new programming to support those in need
In addition to providing virtual resources to members of its community, Raleigh Founded will also continue its economic development work and expand its programming to serve those in under-connected communities. With the name change, Raleigh Founded will be rolling out new programming and resources that support and empower under-connected communities in our region including: women, people of color, those impacted by COVID 19, rural communities, and those with financial hardships. This year, Raleigh Founded will have more extensive and inclusive programming to include: opening an affiliate space in rural NC, launching the Main Street program; a free membership campaign for those in need, and creating more accessible content through virtual programming.
We felt like this year was more important than ever to turn our intentions into action, so if you are an organization working on racial equity work in the area, a business owner struggling from the impact of COVID-19, or a small business in the community looking to test your idea, we may have resources that can help you.
Thank you to all of our members, partners, and friends for your continued support of this community. With our new name and initiatives, we feel that we are going to be able to serve our community even better and we look forward to the impact we can have together.
(C) Raleigh Founded