Methodist College 2nd Annual Spring Entrepreneurial Leadership Summit
April 29, 2016
Background on the Summit: The summit seeks to aid the Center for Entrepreneurship’s mission to create wealth producers and job creators. The inaugural Spring Entrepreneurial Leadership Summit took place in 2013, replacing the CFE’s annual Spring Stock Market Symposium.
Keynote Speaker: Governor Pat McCrory
2014 award recipients:
American Business Ethics Award
Bobby Hurst – Hurst Annaho Supply
Silver Spoon Award
Keith Allison – Systel
Outstanding Woman Entrepreneu of the Year
Shelley Shamdasani Bhatia – Ultimate Storage
Small Business Excellence Award
W. Scott Weathington – Agri-Technologies
The following is a portion of the question and answer session with the governor. To listen to the complete recording please contact the Association office.
Q – Tell us about your first month’s in office
It was an entrepreneurial experience. I was a turn around Governor. Unemployment was the fifth highest in the nation. Businesses owed the federal government 2.5 billion dollars in unemployment debt. We borrowed all this money and didn’t know how to pay it back and then I found out that we had a 535 million dollar missed forecast with Medicaid spending.. I had to evaluate what is the current state and you surround yourself with people that are smarter than you. Ive got brave people around me.
Q – In your opinion what has your administration done to promote entrepreneurship?
Current state of affairs that we resolved was that entrepreneurs were not flocking to North Carolina. Corporations are coming to NC but entrepreneurs have not been attracted to NC the way they should be and there are two things hurting us.
1) One thing is our coporate tax rate and our personal income tax rate were the highest in the southeast. We were not competitive with our neighbors from South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia.
2) The second thing that I think is our biggest challenge is not converting enough of our federal grants for research at our major universities into commercialized patents….as other schools are doing in Texas, California and the Boston area. That’s a major thing we are working on right now.
3) The third thing we are doing is that we have to attract more venture capital to NC and what we are finding out is 20 to 30 year olds who want to do business and even 50 to 60 year olds, many who are retired veterans by the way are natural entrepreneurs and actually have a base of money to start from. They need to find more money and we need more mechanisms for them to have start up money and even from fifty to hundred thousand dollars…they are having difficulty finding that money. We’ve got to find more venture capital money and maybe even revisit our tax system.
Q – What sectors do you believe will be leading the top growth in North Carolina?
I’m going to surprise some people and some of the older sectors have some of the greatest chance in the recovery to help North Carolina. I think there are sectors that NC kinda gave up on because they aren’t sexy….but of these sectors one is manufacturing. Manufacturing has seen an economic revival in NC and the nation. Part of this is China and the cost of labor is going up and their products are going up and thus logistically the cost of getting those products close to the customer. Technology is not relying on such a volume of labor in manufactoring but more skilled people who can work that job and that is what is attracting manufacturing closer and we are seeing a great renaisance and that is one reason we are changing our tax system and don’t punish that productivity. The second interesting sector is agriculture. I think there is great opportunity. I’ve become an ag..suedo expert and I’m impressed with agriculture. Right now agriculture is also coming back. The average age of a farmer is 57 years of age. There are a lot of farmers making a lot of money right now. We also see a great connect with the biotech industry. Those are two of the older industries but are two of the more high tech industries.
Q – Where do you see the role the state can play with veterans looking into positions or taking over companies?
It’s not just taking over companies, there is different levels that we are looking at. First of all the biggest weakness our country has is mechanical/electrical jobs. I’m going to step on some toes here. The only successful track is not just a great four year college degree. There is a limit to a four year college degree that the market place can sustain and there is a lot of competition. I’m saying that with all do respect to Methodist. There is a great need for technicians…mechanic, electrical, industrial, medical and the list goes on and on. If we do not have that labor force in NC than we are going to have a tough time recruiting industry. We are working with your commander here. Sharon Decker is setting up a computer system which could tie in qualifications and skills of those soldiers coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq and putting them through a network so the private sector can see these returning veterans coming in.