Insights from Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of NC Whenever North Carolinians receive the news that a company is expanding or moving into the state, there’s a good chance that discussions behind the scenes have included the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. The EDPNC is a nonprofit public-private partnership which operates under contract with the NC Department of Commerce. The organization serves as North Carolina’s statewide economic development organization, focusing on recruiting new business, expanding existing businesses, export assistance, small business development, and tourism promotion. The Winston-Salem Chamber recently welcomed CEO Chris Chung for a Leader’s Roundtable discussion. Chris Chung and Mark Owens, President & CEO, Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce Chung says his organization manages approximately 200-300 leads annually to recruit companies to locate in North Carolina. About one in three of those leads will result in an economic expansion opportunity somewhere in the state. On the retention side, the organization is also committed to taking care of companies who are already located in North Carolina, offering assistance to growing companies helping them to expand and add new jobs. The organization assisted 600 companies last year with international trade deals, resulting in new sales revenue coming into North Carolina. The EDPNC also handles about 22,000 calls per year from people looking to start or grow a small business. The state’s $24 billion tourism industry is also managed by the EDPNC. Economic Development Trends in North Carolina Chung says a major trend that the EDPNC has seen over the past 18 months is foreign companies looking to locate in North Carolina. The organization is currently handling about 260 projects in recruitment and expansion across the state, a number that’s up from last year. Chung attributes the interest from foreign companies to the current administration’s stance on trades and tariffs. The EDPNC has offices in Canada, the UK, China, Japan, Dubai, and Mexico to facilitate foreign business recruitment efforts. Chung’s insights on economic development opportunities in the Triad region specifically are positive. He says that companies are definitely noticing the advantages of the region when considering relocation and expansion opportunities. Because the Triad is located between a couple of the fastest-growing metro areas in the US in Charlotte and the Triangle, some companies may be swayed to those other locations believing there’s a more robust workforce. It’s the Triad’s job to tout our ideal location, lower facilities costs, and better cost-of-living in order to sway some of their decisions our way. Locally, The Winston-Salem Chamber works closely with our businesses, local and state government entities, and other partners to find solutions for existing companies looking to expand. We help to promote our region as a great place to do business and make every effort to ensure that more and more of those companies seeking the ideal business environment will choose Winston-Salem/Forsyth County as their home. If you’re looking to expand locally, please contact the Chamber’s Jill Atherton. Your contact for relocation into Forsyth County is Winston-Salem Business Inc. With North Carolina currently number one on the Forbes Best States for Business list, our economic opportunities here in the Triad and throughout the state are certainly promising. For more information, visit the Economic Development Partnership of NC online. Special thanks to Inmar and Winston-Salem Business Inc. for supporting the Leader’s Roundtable event.