RALEIGH – The pace number of new businesses creations in North Carolina is still increasing, according to North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who spoke yesterday at a board meeting of The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.

Secretary Marshall noted that the state saw a record number of new business formations in 2020, went on to top that mark in 2021, and is tracking ahead of the record-setting pace during the current calendar year.

In total, there were 178,300 new businesses registered in 2021.  That’s equivalent to roughly 700 new businesses registered each business day of the calendar year, noted Secretary Marshall.

The numbers doesn’t include sole proprietorships, either.

Already, in the first quarter of 2022, there were nearly 47,000 businesses formed in the state, according to a statement, about 80% growth in two years.  That led an executive for the Small Business Administration to describe the growth of new businesses in the state as “pretty incredible” earlier this year.

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Marshall told WRAL TechWire last June that the number of new businesses in the state had gone “through the roof.”  And earlier this year, once the annual figures were calculated, Marshall told WRAL TechWire that these new businesses could drive massive economic growth for the state.

“I am the goose that laid the golden egg, I’ve got a tremendous return on investment,” Marshall told those in attendance at the board meeting.  She shared figures that the office receives $14.1 million in appropriations but drove $141.4 million in state revenue last year.

And the office has structured its operations such that it is focused on driving business decisions “based on what people are telling us,” said Marshall, explaining the results of recent an ongoing surveys of those who have filed new business applications in the state.

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Rural business growth

One notable data point highlighted by Secretary Marshall during her remarks was that there has been double-digit growth in the number of new business formed in every single North Carolina county.

“Widespread across North Carolina,” said Marshall.  “Rural areas have really come on.”

And the department intends to support those new businesses, now that they’ve launched, particularly in rural areas where business owners may have less access to support organizations or networks.

The desire to assist and support new companies led the department to initiate and launch a pilot project focused on supporting new businesses that form in rural counties, said Marshall.

That program, Rural RISE NC, launched last month.  RISE stands for “Resources for Innovators, Start-ups, and Entrepreneurs, according to a statement released by the department last month.

And while there are 78 North Carolina counties considered to be rural counties, 14 will be a part of the RISE program’s pilot phase, said Marshall.

Those counties are Macon, Lincoln, Scotland, Onslow, Caldwell, Burke, Wilkes, Alamance, Hertford, Sampson, Greene, Harnett, Stanly, and Edgecombe Counties.

“We intend to roll out to all 78 counties considered rural by the NC Rural Center,” said Marshall.  “It’s off the ground, it’s beginning to work.”

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