Hatching a good idea
Davidson County has one. So do Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Buncombe. In fact, more than a quarter — 27 — of North Carolina’s 100 counties now have business incubators. Rowan County could join them if local officials can reach a consensus on organization, finances, goals — and where an incubator would set up shop.
The N.C. Business Incubation Association defines a business incubator as “an economic development tool designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services. A business incubator’s main goal is to produce successful firms that will leave the program financially viable and free standing.”
While economic development officials continue recruitment efforts to entice existing industrial and retail businesses to relocate or expand into Rowan, there’s increasing awareness of the importance of homegrown enterprises. As the home of companies like Food Lion, Cheerwine, Stanback and Power Curbers, Rowan should be especially attuned to the possibilities of start-up enterprises and local entrepreneurship.
County and Salisbury leaders support the idea. Let’s hope that collective enthusiasm continues as EDC Executive Director Robert Van Geons gathers more data and fleshes out the proposal. A successful incubator could help put more people to work — and put some fallow square footage to good use.