RALEIGH — North Carolina’s entrepreneurial community is ready for the 5th Annual Ecosystem Summit starting today, Monday, November 13 at the Raleigh Hilton North Hills. Hosted by NC IDEA, the three-day conference will bring together hundreds of ecosystem builders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders to reflect on the theme of “Creating Our Future.”
The Ecosystem Summit is the anchor event for Global Entrepreneurship Week, a national celebration of entrepreneurs who “serve their communities and bolster the American economy.” Events throughout the week aim to empower North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential, with the conference contributing a platform for sharing best practices, addressing concerns, and networking with like-minded individuals. The audience should be diverse, with participation from various entrepreneurial support organizations, local government agencies, schools that support entrepreneurship, and co-working spaces.
According to the press release, the opening day will focus on the importance of supporting and protecting entrepreneurship development. Lawsuits that have emerged over the last few months have demonstrated the critical need to defend equal access to opportunity and resources needed to succeed.
Day two will feature leaders discussing policy and the fostering of innovative and entrepreneurial companies. While NC is well-positioned nationally, efforts are needed to remain competitive and drive economic prosperity.
Day three of the event is for all things funding. The conference wraps up with the highly-anticipated announcement of NC IDEA’s $50k SEED grant recipients for this fall.
This year’s event will feature more than 50 speakers, including “keynote” sessions from Elizabeth Dougherty with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Matt Dunne with the Center on Rural Innovation, Laura Gerald from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Victor W. Hwang with Right to Start, Bennet Waters from NCInnovation, and Senator Thom Tillis.
The event will also feature up-and-coming startups BatteryXchange, Bayley, OpiAID, and WeyeZE in entrepreneur spotlights scattered throughout the second and third days of the event.
This is the fifth year of the Summit, which started in 2019 with the goal of encouraging entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic development. The event took place remotely in 2020 and 2021, returning to in-person last year with nearly 500 attendees.
“Supporting and growing our state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is lonely work for too many,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA in the press release. “But it is the effort of our partners and the founders they support that makes North Carolina the best state in the nation for entrepreneurship.”