RALEIGH – New businesses are forming in North Carolina at a rapid pace, with about 96,000 new businesses formed in the state between January and the end of June 2021, according to North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall.

That’s an 80% increase compared to the same period in 2020.

Last year, through all of 2020, nearly 127,000 new businesses formed in North Carolina, said Marshall.

In March, Marshall projected that by the end of 2021, North Carolina would see the new creation of about 170,000 new businesses.

Source: North Carolina Secretary of State

Now, Marshall is updating that projection.  In a statement, Marshall said that her office now projects 191,600 new businesses in the state to form in 2021.


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“Since mid-2020, new business creations have gone through the roof and instead of leveling off we’re seeing those numbers soar even higher this year,” said Secretary Marshall.

One reason why, said Marshall, is that the process to file a new business is now easier, due to greater facilitation of technological tools, or so-called “online wizards” that were launched in the last year.

“Document rejection rates for customer errors have been cut over two thirds in the first five months that the wizards have been available, greatly speeding the time it takes citizens to open their businesses,” according to Marshall’s office.

Not only are businesses forming, they’re growing.  89% of those businesses are still operating, according to a survey conducted by the Secretary of State’s office.  And 22% of those businesses reported having three or more employees on the payroll, as newer startups were found in a national report to still be able to generate job creation during the pandemic and during periods of economic recession.

“Our survey findings point toward a new era of entrepreneurship, with 81% of respondents indicating they launched their businesses in search of new opportunities, while just 12% report starting their new businesses as a result of job losses during the pandemic,” said Secretary Marshall.

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The torrid rate of new business creations is as high as 211% in some counties, like Scotland County, according to the data from the Secretary of State’s office.

“Whether it’s a home-based business or brick and mortar store, a part-time side hustle or a new full-time career, people are taking that leap of faith to improve their lives,” said Chris English, Executive Director of the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce, noting that Richmond Community College is playing a key role in the community, with programs like truck driving school and the institution’s small business center.

“I think entrepreneurial enthusiasm is contagious in the best way – when you see your neighbor starting a new career or a new venture, you start thinking about what you can do to improve your situation,” said English.