The Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship (CRFE) recently released the “The Impact of Innovation: Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report,” the first in-depth study of the state of entrepreneurship and innovation in the market — and Charlotte’s position in comparison to competitive cities. ThisGrowth Report is representative of the initiatives that the CFRE, along with other stakeholders of Charlotte’s entrepreneurial community, will invest in to advance the regional ecosystem. The analysis of data sources highlighted Charlotte metro strengths and national rankings while uncovering significant shortcomings for action. A complete presentation of the report findings will be presented formally to the Charlotte City Council tonight, Monday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

The survey of companies revealed substantial revenue and employment growth among ventures that compete effectively in national and global markets. The companies participating in the report collectively represent anticipated revenue of $1.3 billion in 2015 and projected full-time employment of 2,350. More importantly, in aggregate, they rank between publicly-traded Piedmont Natural Gas and Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated. Among those participating, the CRFE profiled seven successful Charlotte area companies to showcase the innovation sector in the region. These companies included AccruePartners, AvidXchange, InfoSense, Passport, Peak 10, SQL Sentry and T1V.

“We are honored to be featured in the Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report for 2015. With three years of record growth at AvidXchange, as well as the addition of IT jobs citywide, we believe that the technology sector is taking hold in Charlotte,” commented Michael Praeger, CEO and Co-founder of AvidXchange. “With additional talent fueling our innovation, service and support for invoice and payment automation, we are anxious to see 2016 unfold.”

Additionally, the Growth Report measured outcomes and expectations for area entrepreneurs, providing insight into the technology trends that evaluated Charlotte in comparison to other metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Austin and San Francisco. Through this analysis, the CRFE has established benchmarks that will allow further tracking of the success of investments in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping Charlotte become a hub where high growth entrepreneurial companies thrive.

Key findings of the Growth Report include:

  • Charlotte ranked as 25th in the nation’s 40 largest markets by the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, measuring overall startup activity.
  • The surveyed companies experienced a 23% average revenue growth rate in 2014 and an expected revenue growth rate of 44% in 2015.
  • Those same companies expect 23% employment growth in 2015, which could result in over 600 new jobs. Moreover, the compensation for these jobs is significantly higher than the Charlotte metro average, and the compensation increases as the companies become more mature.
  • Charlotte’s technology innovation potential is limited, with innovation capacity activities such as research funding and patents below the average metropolitan benchmark.
  • Charlotte’s overall startup activity is below the benchmark average for other metropolitan cities.
  • Charlotte significantly lagged all cities benchmarked in the study for venture capital investment between 2011 and 2014.
  • Strong support for the importance of entrepreneurs to Charlotte’s economic vitality was identified in the community survey of the general population.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this study and report,” said David Jones, Chairman and CEO of Peak 10, a Charlotte-headquartered IT infrastructure and cloud solutions provider, and a longtime member and advisor to BIG. “It showcases the significant milestones that Charlotte’s high-growth entrepreneurial companies have achieved while also indicating the challenges in our region with regard to entrepreneurial growth. Having this data provides us with groundwork for innovation and finding ways to improve.”

Jones adds, “We never anticipated an immediate solution from this study and its results, as growth takes work and focus over time. I believe that Charlotte will build on its entrepreneurial successes and deal head-on with the challenges.”

Additionally, the CRFE board and City of Charlotte staff will facilitate a one-day Solution Design Sprint to engage a diverse group of stakeholders in crafting a strategic action plan to move forward, based on the findings from the report. The workshop date is Friday, April 22. For more information, contact Holly Eskridge at heskridge@ci.charlotte.nc.us.

The Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report was created through research and surveys led by Ventureprise in collaboration with the Business Innovation & Growth Council and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. For more information and access to the full report, visitwww.ui.uncc.edu/data/partner/cegr. For inquiries concerning report content or use, contact Ventureprise at info@ventureprise.org or 704.687.0900.

Source: Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship Releases Its First Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Growth Report Tracking the Impact of Innovation