Wed, 18 May 2022

Despite the pandemic, North Carolina has seen a record number of new businesses created in the past year.

A report from the Secretary of State's office says new business filings for 2021 grew 40% over 2020, for a total of more than 178,000 new businesses in the state. The previous record had been set in 2020, and new business growth overall has more than doubled since 2017.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said the state is seeing a lot of homegrown activity, with residents inspired to start their own small businesses in an effort to find more flexibility during the pandemic.

"And I know a lot of folks that took their hobby and they decided to up their game," said Marshall. "They started working on it, perfecting it, maybe mass-producing it in some effects. Or they took an online course, to learn how to do something totally brand new for relaxation and said, 'I can make a business out of this.'"

The trend can be seen across the country, too, with Montana and Ohio also reporting record levels of new business creation in 2021.

Last year, the Secretary of State's office surveyed new businesses created in the last three years and found 90% still in operation.

Looking ahead, Marshall said it's smart to keep an eye on news headlines in the state when looking for potential new business ideas - such as the new Plant Sciences Initiative at North Carolina State University for research on sustainable agriculture.

"Those kinds of things will provide niches for folks in rural areas," said Marshall. "If we can get more productivity out of our land, if we can get diversity in productivity out of our land, all of those will create opportunities for folks in the rural areas."

Marshall said her department's new "Web Wizards," an interactive tool, has helped speed up the application process to incorporate a business in the state.

Source: North Carolina News Service

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