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NCGrowth works nationally to build an economy with opportunities for all to prosper. We provide technical assistance to businesses, governments, anchor institutions, and other organizations to create good jobs and new wealth in economically distressed communities. We produce applied research and develop innovative policies that promote equitable development. We host unique, cross-sector convenings and workshops to bring together diverse perspectives. Our staff is in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and other communities across the U.S. Our work and thought leadership range in scope from hyper-local to international. NCGrowth was founded in 2012 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is affiliated with the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise and the Kenan-Flagler Business School.


An economy with opportunities for all to prosper


To build a more equitable economy with good jobs and new wealth in economically distressed communities 

What We Do

NCGrowth provides a wide range of technical assistance to small- and medium-sized businesses located in economically distressed communities. We provide financial analysis, manufacturing process improvement, natural resource management planning, and many other kinds of technical assistance to firms with a desire to grow and hire more employees at decent wages. We also create workshops, virtual training sessions, and other types of content to support entrepreneurs. 

NCGrowth helps governments create vibrant, equitable economies. We work collaboratively with leaders of Tribes, states, counties, municipalities, regional governmental entities, and other organizations on economic and community development planning, including market research, economic impact analysis, strategic planning, and community visioning. We produce publicly-available applied research on community-driven economic strategies such as rural incubator development, leveraging natural assets for economic development, and business retention strategies. We host the Homegrown Tools website, a national database of case studies highlighting how small communities create economic growth and development. More at homegrowntools.unc.edu. 

NCGrowth sees the purchasing power of anchor institutions as a tool for sustainable economic development. We work with leadership of universities, hospitals, military bases, governments, and other anchor institutions to radically increase their procurement from firms that are located in economically distressed communities or otherwise disconnected from these opportunities (e.g., minority-owned, rural, smaller local firms, etc.). We provide supplier identification and data analysis strategies, policy recommendations, workshops, strategic planning, and a national community of practice.  

NCGrowth hosts workshops, field trips, seminars, and major conferences to bring communities and resources together. We believe that unique convenings have the power to change lives, from rural business workshops in the South Carolina lowcountry, to the international Black Communities Conference (more at blackcommunities.unc.edu). 

Who We Are

NCGrowth has a growing staff of more than 40 employees, including full-time economic development professionals and a dynamic cohort of part-time graduate student analysts. Our projects are advised by over 100 expert practitioners and university faculty representing a wide range of disciplines. Our portfolio of work rests on a foundation of collaborations with more than 500 organizations including the National Center for American Indian Economic Development, other NGOs, foundations, corporations, and faith organizations.

Our Values

Every decision presents an opportunity to have an impact.  Failure is not an option.  Leave no one behind.  History, culture and demographics matter.  Respect for elders.  Power to the people. 

Our Funders

The work of NCGrowth is made possible through generous support from the Economic Development Administration, Truist Foundation, Golden Leaf Foundation, Z Smith Reynolds Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Dogwood Health Trust, North Carolina Policy Collaboratory, NC Department of Commerce, US Department of Agriculture, and other individual donors. We are grateful to our partners for their support in helping us continually grow and expand our impact. 

Homegrown Tools is a national database of economic development case studies highlighting how small communities create economic growth and development.  The Homegrown Tools website also provides economic development toolkits designed for local governments. 

Black Communities Conference fosters collaboration among Black communities and universities for the purpose of enhancing Black community life and furthering the understanding of Black communities. Co-hosted with other institutions, this convening connects thousands of leaders across the African diaspora.  #BlackCom

Building an economy with opportunities for all to prosper