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The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 turned the labor market upside down. Job losses shot up and many businesses, if they were able to stay open, experienced significant drops in revenue. Today, the situation is the opposite. Businesses have experienced significant growth over the last two years and job openings currently surpass pre-pandemic levels. In fact, although the labor market started to cool in 2023, recent data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce show that North Carolina, like so many other states, has more jobs than workers – 61 workers available for every 100 job openings.

Located in Walterboro, SC, the ​​LaTrice D. Ferguson School of Nursing Assistants (LDF CNA) has been training nursing assistants since 2016. Currently, the company's marketing is through simple social media posting and word-of-mouth; however, this is a barrier to future growth. LDF CNA engaged NCGrowth to help them develop a formal marketing campaign to reach more potential students with an interest in healthcare careers.​ The detailed marketing plan included market segmentation and a competitive analysis of the career opportunity.

In late November, attendees from across the eastern region of North Carolina joined the NCGrowth team in Bertie County. Attendees learned about our projects supporting businesses, communities, and local and Tribal governments including Pamlico County, Enc96radio, the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, Town of Garysburg, and Slice 325. After lunch, the team and guests toured Indulge Aesthetics, the Cashie Treehouse Village, and the site of a developing park in Bertie County currently known “Tall Glass of Water”.

NCGrowth and the UNC System have worked to develop a strategic plan for the System and its seventeen institutions to increase their use of historically underutilized businesses in their purchasing and procurement processes.

​​Big Boys Kitchen (BBK) Catering is a catering company operated and located in the territory of Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. The co-owner and CEO of the company, Patrick Dial, has extensive experience catering local events, church events, weddings, school events, and other private functions. The menu offering includes a variety of BBQ options with a local NC flavor. ​​​Pat asked NCGrowth to support their efforts to expand their offerings and establish an online presence. ​​NCGrowth provided a competitive analysis and audit of BBK’s online marketing presence.


Leading academics and innovators in the private and public sectors recently convened at the Kenan Institute’s wealth inequality conference which was co-organized by NCGrowth to foster meaningful dialogue about the effects of income disparity and how education and research can create opportunities for more equitable access.

NCGrowth prepared an in-depth report examining how communities with large automotive manufacturers can benefit from economic growth. Broadly, the report finds that local chambers of commerce should work with the large manufacturer to design workforce development programs and support local businesses via the supply chain. By developing symbiotic relationships between new and existing businesses, communities can ensure that the economic gains brought by the arrival of new, large employers are also distributed to local firms and residents.

The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) has pioneered the Native Edge Institute, one-day, in-person events that provide both established and aspiring business owners with critical business training. Through an collaborative partnership between NCGrowth and NCAIED, we have been able to expand these events to new locations across the U.S. This video highlights a recent Native Edge Institute hosted in Norfolk, VA which connected participants to resources available in their region, along with one-on-one business counseling, coaching, and matchmaking services.

Founded in 2021 and headquartered in Winston-Salem, Bella Sol Medical Spa focuses on fostering self-care by delivering top-notch, customized, medical-grade services tailored to enhance the well-being and vitality of its clientele. In an effort to attract investments and boost revenue, Bella Sol Medical Spa requested support from NCGrowth on a comprehensive business plan. This plan identifies Bella Sol's strengths and competitive advantages, and provides an overview of the market landscape, including an analysis of top competitors. UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA candidate Yiwen Lin, an NCGrowth analyst, collaborated with Bella Sol owner Jalissa Grier on this project, with additional input from a professional wealth analyst who acted as an external reviewer.

ENC96RADIO, Greenville's emerging community radio platform, stands at a crucial juncture. While its grassroots appeal and community-centric vision hold immense potential, the internet radio station grapples with two significant challenges. Firstly, its self-funded model poses constraints on growth initiatives, content quality, and technological advancements, making sustainability an uphill battle. Secondly, differentiation in an industry crowded with giants like Sirius XM Radio Inc. and iHeartMedia, Inc., as well as other local competitors, is imperative. The station's task is not merely to exist as a community radio, but to craft a unique value proposition that resonates deeply with Greenville's residents, ensuring loyalty and regular engagement, all while transitioning from a self-financed passion project to a financially sustainable community cornerstone.

The town of Garysburg, located in Northampton County, NC, aims to revitalize its old elementary school by transforming it into a mixed-socioeconomic development hub. This project seeks to provide employment opportunities, educational resources, and foster social and economic growth for the community. NCGrowth analyzed diverse revenue streams and effective cost-management strategies to ensure long-term value for the town. NCGrowth analyst and UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA candidate, Rex Chauhan, developed a robust financial model that projected revenue streams, analyzed costs, and estimated returns on investment. NCGrowth also identified key personnel roles, and qualifications, and provided job descriptions.