Report: New business growth soaring at record rate in NC despite pandemic

RALEIGH – New businesses are being launched at a record pace across North Carolina despite the lingering effects of the pandemic, according to new data from NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall.

Through the first two months of this year, new business totals are topping levels seen a year ago before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Marshall reported Tuesday. Based on that data, Marshall’s office is projecting launching of more than 170,000 companies by year’s end.

That number would far exceed 2020 which was a record-setting year with nearly 127,000 businesses being launched. That total was more than 27,000 higher than in 2019.

NC Secretary of State Department graphic. The orange bar indicates a projection of more than 170,000 new business creations at the current 2021 growth rate.

“The innovative spirit in North Carolina is alive and well,” Marshall said in a statement. “Our agency is acutely aware that our citizens and North Carolina’s economy benefit from prompt, efficient administration that promotes our national reputation as a preferred destination for business formation.”

On Monday, North Carolina’s new Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders praised new businesses and startups as being crucial to the economy. 

“Innovation and new ideas are the rocket fuel of the North Carolina economy,” Sanders said. “As a biotechnology executive, I’ve witnessed the significant impact that entrepreneurial innovation has on our state. We must welcome everyone to contribute and then act with deliberate intention to nurture and support those ideas, especially those high-impact companies that solve global issues.”

According to Marshall, who began her tenure as secretary of state in 1997, technology embraced by her office is helping entrepreneurs launch their own businesses.

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“My top priority when I first took office in 1997 was to ensure the agency was meeting the crucial demands of citizens conducting business in our state, and to ensure the marketplace was getting the accurate and reliable data it needs to make important business decisions,” she said in a statement. “Through innovation, a staff motivated by providing outstanding public service, and a dedication to receiving and acting on customer input, we continue to embrace our slogan that ‘Business Begins Here.’”

So-called “online wizards” were launched recently, the aim being to guide owners through the launch process.

“Document rejection rates for customer errors have been cut over two thirds in the first five months that the wizards have been available, greatly speeding the time it takes citizens to open their businesses,” according to Marshall’s office.

In 1997 when she became secreetary of state, some 31,500 businesses were formed in the state, Marshall’s staff noted.

Innovation, new ideas are ‘rocket fuel’ for NC economy, says new secretary of commerce


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