By Margaret Worten
It’s the age old question: “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” When it comes to innovation in our region, the question is the same—Raleigh, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Raleigh is growing at an unprecedented rate; however, are we ready to manage the challenges that come with such rapid growth?
Raleigh already has a lot to brag about.
- One of the top 10 fastest growing cities in the country.
- 14 million visitors annually and over $2 billion in spend
- Raleigh/Durham was named the No. 2 spot in the country for average “Multiple on Invested Capital,” beating out the likes of Seattle, New York City, and even Silicon Valley
- The list goes on and on
Smart, Modern, and Undiscovered
Julie Brakenbury, director of Services for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, described Raleigh as smart, modern, and undiscovered. Whether you are a transplant or a lifelong resident, you are creating the story of Raleigh’s future. She emphasized the importance of how the community works together.
The Triangle accounts for 80 percent of the $2.5 billion dollars in North Carolina investments since 2013. I’m not a gambler, but if I were, I’d put my money on Raleigh, as would Dhruv Patel. Dhruv is the director of Investor Relations for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, which focuses on tech, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and minerals, and cleantech funding. So far this year they are sitting at over $425 million in equity. Raleigh has benchmarked this region.
Greg Hatem has created an empire in Raleigh with Empire Properties, Empire Eats, and the roles he plays on so many boards. He’s not an “out with the old and in with the new” man; he’s more of a believer in “renovate the old, create the new.” Greg emphasized planning for the future, networking, and diversity, as well as progress over process. Thinking 50 years ahead is what made the Research Triangle possible, and that is a force that needs to continue.
Become Part of the Solution
It’s clear to so many that young professionals are the engine. It’s up to us to determine how much horsepower is under the hood.
Raleigh is supporting small business startups and welcoming international companies. We all fit in somewhere, and our talents can make a difference. There is always room for improvement, so if you don’t like what you see, challenge yourself to be part of the solution. Become involved, find your passion, run for office.
Another interesting topic that came up during the program was the question surrounding Raleigh’s brand. North Carolina’s brand, “To be rather than to see,” is being overpowered by bad political policies. Right now I think the Raleigh Chamber has it right: “All are Welcome Here.” Dr. Ben Carson recently said, “One of the things that made America into a great nation is because we have so many people with so much talent from so many different places. And our diversity is not a problem, it is a blessing.”
Bring on the diversity, bring on challengers, bring the doers, bring on the innovation. If we think beyond the present, the future of Raleigh is BRIGHT.
Learn More about the Young Professionals Network
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