Biz Roundup: Rowan County repeats as top food processing location

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 31, 2022

KANNAPOLIS — Business Facilities magazine, a source of trade information for national economic development site selection professionals, has ranked Rowan County among the top 10 metro areas in North America for food processing locations for the second consecutive year.

Rowan County earned the No. 8 ranking in North America. The rankings are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data, new projects, expansions, available workforce and programs for industry.

“Rowan County is a premiere location for the AgBiosciences and we’re proud to receive national recognition for our food processing potential,” said Rod Crider, Rowan Economic Development Commission president. “We have received significant interest from food processing companies interested in relocating or expanding here, and this ranking demonstrates why.”

Rowan’s ranking was earned thanks to a multitude of assets in the community. The entire Charlotte region is transforming into a world-renowned research, development and production center for the biosciences. This is sparked by the North Carolina Food Innovation Lab in Kannapolis, a new, current Good Manufacturing Practice pilot plant which offers services for every stage of product development and brings together the latest in food processing equipment, expert food scientists and partners across the state.

The county is also rich in natural resources, particularly its water supply, thanks to its location on the Yadkin River, which generates an average flow of two billion gallons per day. Farmers in North Carolina have 400 different soil types and more than 90 crop varieties, making the state a top-10 producer in 19 commodities, and the home of 24 of the 50 largest food and beverage companies in the U.S.

North Carolina to receive up to $201.9 million to promote small business growth and entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Department of the Treasury announced the approval of North Carolina’s application for funding under the State Small Business Credit Initiative for up to $201.9 million.

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan reauthorized and expanded SSBCI, which was originally established in 2010 and was highly successful in increasing access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs. The new SSBCI builds on this successful model by providing nearly $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to increase access to capital and promote entrepreneurship, especially in traditionally underserved communities as they emerge from the pandemic.

Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo announced the approval of North Carolina’s plan alongside North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders at the North Carolina Rural Center. The North Carolina Rural Center administers funding for small businesses from local and federal sources, including from the SSBCI program. As part of the announcement, Adeyemo and Sanders participated in a roundtable discussion with small businesses and financial institutions that participated in the first round of SSBCI.

“This historic investment in entrepreneurship, small business growth, and innovation funded by the American Rescue Plan will help reduce barriers to capital access for traditionally underserved communities across the state,” Adeyemo said. “I was glad to have an opportunity to hear from North Carolina small business owners and financial institutions during my visit today and look forward to seeing the impact these funds have in promoting equitable economic growth in North Carolina.”

North Carolina, approved for up to $201.9 million, will operate three different programs, including a loan participation program to which it has allocated $160 million. The loan participation program expands access to capital by purchasing subordinate participations in small business loans made by financial institutions. The program helps lenders engage in small business lending and provide support to underserved businesses. The state has partnered with the North Carolina Rural Center to administer the program which aims to support communities in their efforts to revitalize central business districts, strengthen neighborhoods, foster small business recovery and support economic growth.

“The State Small Business Credit Initiative provides vital support for our small businesses, particularly for those who often face challenges in accessing capital,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “I’m excited to see how this next round of funding will help many of our state’s small, women- and minority-owned businesses across our rural communities grow and become more resilient.”

SSBCI funding is expected to catalyze up to $10 of private investment for every $1 of SSBCI capital funding, amplifying the effects of this funding and providing small business owners with the resources they need to sustainably grow and thrive. State governments submitted plans to the treasury for how they will use their SSBCI allocation to provide funding to small businesses, including through venture capital programs, loan participation programs, loan guarantee programs, collateral support programs and capital access programs. To date, the treasury has approved state plans totaling more than $1.7 billion in funding to promote small business growth through SSBCI.

A White House report released in June found that more Americans are starting new businesses than ever before. In 2021, Americans applied to start 5.4 million new businesses, 20% more than any other year on record. It also found that small businesses are creating more jobs than ever before, with businesses with fewer than 50 workers creating 1.9 million jobs in the first three quarters of 2021, the highest rate of small business job creation ever recorded in a single year.

The investments being made through SSBCI are a key part of the Biden Administration’s strategy to keep this small business boom going by expanding access to capital and by providing entrepreneurs the resources they need to succeed. The work the treasury has done through the implementation process to ensure SSBCI funds reach traditionally underserved small businesses and entrepreneurs will also be critical to ensuring the small business boom not only continues but also continues to lift up communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The treasury intends to continue approving state plans on a rolling basis.

Economic Investment Committee to discuss economic development proposals

RALEIGH — The Economic Investment Committee will meet Tuesday at 11 a.m. to consider one or more economic development proposals.

The EIC is providing a public teleconference method to join this meeting.

To join this public meeting, call into the teleconference:

• Teleconference number: +1-415-655-0003 (toll charges might apply).

• Teleconference access code: 2431 346 9227

The meeting will convene in the commerce executive board room, located on the fourth floor of the New Education Building, 301 North Wilmington Street in Raleigh.

The public teleconference line will open starting at 10:50 a.m.