RALEIGH – North Carolina is the winner of Site Selection magazine’s top honor for economic development, stretching its streak to three straight years as recipient of the Prosperity Cup.
The award comes after the state set records for the value of economic development projects – such as Wolfspeed and VinFast – as well as number of jobs created. North Carolina landed a state record of 151 projects, commitments of more than 27,000 jobs and investments totaling $15.58 billion.
The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina and the N.C. Department of Commerce were recognized as the state level organizations cited by the magazine, which itself is regarded as one of the top publications covering economic development.
Writer Mark Arend noted in the magazine’s report the scale of the Wolfspeed and VinFast projects:
“Two projects alone in 2022 accounted for $9 billion in capital investment in the Tar Heel State — both in Chatham County. Vietnamese EV and battery manufacturer VinFast picked the Triangle Innovation Point mega site for its three-part manufacturing center — for production of electric cars, buses and batteries. A $2 billion initial investment for phase 1 is expected to grow to $4 billion. The project will employ 7,500 at full operation. Meanwhile, semiconductor manufacturer Wolfspeed plans to invest $5 billion over the next eight years in a manufacturing campus for the production of Silicon Carbide materials. It will create more than 1,800 jobs by 2030.”
In interviews with the magazine, N.C. Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders and EDPNC CEO Chris Chung talked about the state’s success – and the competition.
“We have continued to leverage our strengths,” she says. “We have a collaborative environment. The Department of Commerce is a multiplier for our local and regional economic development agencies. We have continued to invest in and underscore the importance of our number one asset, which is our talent. Also, our excellent quality of life, our top-tiered education system, it’s unmatchable. It’s important for companies to locate in places that employees will enjoy and be able to thrive in. North Carolina offers all of that. That has kept us competitive.”
“At one time there was the perception that North Carolina was not very aggressive or good at figuring out how to incentivize those really large projects — the home runs would elude us,” he relates. “The home runs often require incentives that are not on the shelf. But in the past four years, the governor and legislature working in a bipartisan fashion have done a really good job of agreeing to disagree on other matters but coming together on major legislation as it befits companies like Apple and Honeywell’s headquarters relocation here a few years ago and others.”
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