Editor’s Note: This week’s TechWire Startup Spotloght is from Kevin Dick, president and CEO of Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) who contributed this blog post about the organization’s 2023 Black Entrepreneurship Series. Startup Spotlight is a regular part of WRAL TechWire’s Startup Monday package.


RALEIGH – At the top of this year, North Carolina was lauded as one of the best places to start a business.

And in 2022, North Carolina was even ranked the top state in the U.S. for its business climate.

These accolades come as no surprise to us at Carolina Small Business Development Fund, because for more than 30 years, we’ve witnessed firsthand how our economy has transformed and have worked to equip entrepreneurs with the resources to capitalize on that growth.

As a nonprofit and U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution, it’s our mission to provide capital, technical assistance, and policy research to light the way for small businesses in North Carolina. In working with our partners and enriching our state’s small business ecosystem, we get an in-depth look into the complexities of our state’s economy, and what challenges and barriers historically underserved entrepreneurs face when it comes to accessing capital and business development resources. But most importantly, we have the privilege to be a part of the solution.

Meet the 1 percent: Angel investors who happen to be Black

Honoring NC’s Black Entrepreneurs

As February is Black History Month, we’ve decided to pay homage to the Black trailblazers across our state by hosting our 2023 Black Entrepreneurship Series, a three-city tour that connects Black entrepreneurs in high-growth industries to the networks, resources, mentors, and opportunities to grow and scale their businesses.

We kicked off our 2023 Black Entrepreneurship Series earlier this month with more than 100 business owners, resource providers, and ecosystem partners at Provident 1898, a Black-owned coworking space and resource provider in the former NC Mutual Life building in downtown Durham.  Then on February 15, we were in Wilmington with Genesis Block ILM, a business incubator with the mission of connecting minority businesses to more than $2.5 million in contracts in 2023. And next week, on February 23, we’ll be in Charlotte with our partners at Studio 229 on Brevard, an event space in the historic Brooklyn neighborhood, which was one block of Charlotte’s Black Wall Street.

While each stop on our tour is centered with partners and locations significant to North Carolina’s Black business history, our eyes are on the present and the future of Black businesses in our state.

Our tour highlights opportunities for Black businesses in three high-growth industries, which are creating and retaining significantly high numbers of jobs, based upon data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce: tech, construction, and accommodation and food services.

North Carolina ranks highly as best state to start a business, reports say

NC is a major hub

As our state becomes a major center for these industries, we’re amplifying ways that the barriers Black businesses face in accessing entry and growth in these industries can be overcome by highlighting the people who have done it themselves and the ecosystem partners that can be an entrepreneur’s ally in the process.

It’s our mission—and that of our ecosystem partners who are celebrating alongside us during our Black Entrepreneurship Series—to make sure that as North Carolina continues to be the best state for business, it’s also the best state for small businesses, and the best state for Black businesses. While tickets for our Series are sold out, rest assured that at CSBDF, we’re just getting started.

Whether you’re a small business owner, a nonprofit, a financial institution, or a government or municipal agency, there’s a partner, advocate, and champion for you at Carolina Small Business Development Fund.