Hot Cities

Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill (1998)

There it grows again! For the fourth year in a row, the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, North Carolina, triangle ranks as one of Entrepreneur's top spots for small businesses. Since last year's ranking, a population influx-pushing the number from 995,256 to 1,025,253--and economic growth have catapulted the region into the number-one large-city slot, and folks in the Tar Heel state expect the good times to keep rollin'.

Growth in this region is no flash in the pan; it's been going strong for the past 15 years. The area's bedrock sectors are either very stable (for example, state government and education), or on the economy's cutting edge, such as technology. There are also pro-business state and local governments as well as an abundance of highly skilled graduates from the region's powerhouse research universities and prestigious law and medical schools.

The telecommunications industry is making its presence known, while technology and biotechnology show no signs of slowing. Several new facilities, including a $232 million Environmental Protection Agency facility, are sure to increase demand for suppliers and service providers. Venture capital--both home-grown and imported--is also on the rise.

The bad news? Traffic is increasing, as is the demand for labor, a crippling factor in the current tight labor market. To combat the traffic problem, the Triangle J Council of Governments is looking at mass transit options. On the labor front, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development has initiated an internship program that places MBA students in local entrepreneurial firms to entice them to stay in the area after graduation.

The strong infrastructure, additional capital and quality work force, coupled with a high quality of life, have officials confident this region will continue to grow.

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Hot Cities.

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