Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CED Members Predict Growth as Entrepreneurial Climate in RTP Improves

Annual member survey finds 30 percent planned increase hiring in next 12 months

July 5, 2011 – Research Triangle Park, NC – CED, a private, nonprofit organization that promotes entrepreneurial efforts in North Carolina, has released its annual survey of members. Key findings indicate that entrepreneurs are feeling cautiously optimistic about their business prospects and many are planning expansion and new hiring in the next 12 months. In addition, “managing growth” emerged as the top concern of respondents.

“These results, while not conclusive, confirm the impression that the entrepreneurial community in the Research Triangle is on the upswing,” says Joan Siefert Rose, CED president. “While many entrepreneurs continue to express uncertainty about government policy and the economic climate in general, they are upbeat about their own enterprises and showing new signs of confidence,” Rose said.

The online survey was conducted by Percept Research between April 21, 2011 and May 6, 2011. Participants were asked to respond anonymously to questions about their business and their experience with CED.  873 people participated in the survey, about an 11% response rate. Results will be used to track trends in the entrepreneurial community, and inform CED about programs and services for its members.

The 2011 CED member survey found that:

  • 85 percent of respondents work in companies with 50 or fewer employees
  • Industries represented are split equally among Technology, Life Sciences, and Business/Professional Services
  • In the past year, 63 percent said they had expanded “a little” or “a lot”;  more than 90 percent predict expansion in the next 12 months
  • 30 percent say they are “likely” or “extremely likely” to hire new employees in the next 12 months; only 18 percent say they are “unlikely” to add employees, with the rest undecided
  • The top 3 concerns ranked by respondents are managing growth, the state of the economy in general, and marketing
  • Half of the respondents indicated that access to capital had “stayed the same” in the past year, with the other respondents equally split between expanded and contracted access to capital
  • The most likely form of financing for companies is self-funding/”bootstrapping” (63 percent), followed by personal credit cards/line of credit (56 percent), and friends and family (35 percent). (Respondents were asked to check all that apply.)
  • 29 percent report funding from angel investors; 18 percent from federal grants, such as SBIR; 15 percent from corporate partnering; and 14 percent from venture capital
  • Half of respondents report doing business internationally

The following are verbatim anonymous responses to the 2011 survey question: “What are the top issues that concern your company?”

 Managing Growth:

“Attracting quality employees to NC. They are worried about the potential for the next job following acquisition or failure of the venture.”

“Finding good talent that fits a small company culture.” “Access to qualified technical personnel.”

“As the company grows, effective communication across borders is an issue of great importance to us.”

“Building a culture that allows people to have fun while being productive. Creating an organization that will scale.” “Completing the management team.”

“Finding good talent. People who really have their heads on right are very difficult to find.” “Finding world class software developers with a startup orientation in RTP.”

“Meshing of Baby Boomer, Generation X, and Generation Y cultures and mindsets.”

“Time management and efficiency. Constant need to upgrade technology, communications.”

The State of the Economy in General/Government Policy:

“The current anti-business attitude of the US government.”

“FDA clearance or lack thereof and the FDA’s goal that appears not to approve anything.” “Changing laws, uncertainty due to federal government budget freezes, political posturing.” “Getting rid of punitive tax laws and ensuring that government stays out of my way.” “Grants from federal sources – too slow!!!! Too capricious!!!!”

“Preponderance of incentives that support the incumbent dirty industry we’re trying to displace.”

“Obamacare and how it will affect product pricing and a myriad of other issues – it should be undone.” “Regulatory environment with Big Government intervention is the biggest of all the problems.”


“Finding co-development partners.”

“Finding clients who have money and are ready to start work.” “Getting appointments with decision makers.”

“Getting local media to work on behalf of the local entrepreneurial scene and promote companies that are in the area

more consistently.”

“Need mentors!! Need business incubation to learn how to market effectively.” “How to effectively use social media/communications.”

“Selecting the best strategic alliance partners.”

About CED
CED is a private, non-profit organization that provides the entrepreneurial community in the Research Triangle Park region with the necessary tools, connections and resources to start something new – from an idea, to a company or even, a relationship. CED’s extensive range of initiatives from personal consultations and mentoring to educational programs and conferences empower entrepreneurs to transform ideas into businesses and to take existing businesses to the next level. Visit  www.cednc.org for more information.

Contact: Joan Siefert Rose, CED president, jsrose@cednc.org or 919.633.7052.

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