Is Charlotte a good place to start a business? Juan Garzon from StartCharlotte and PitchBreakfast joins us on the CharlotteFive Podcast to discuss where the city can improve to attract more startups, what it takes to move your ideas into action, and what investors are really looking for. Take a listen…
Would it be better for Charlotte to look inward at itself to grow new business or do more to attract people to come to this city when they have ideas to start a business?
“So Charlotte’s great at attracting people to come here when they have big establishments, right? That’s where all of our funding goes, to going out and attracting big companies to hire 200 more people, rather than those new entrepreneurs. But we have a lot to offer for early stage companies that are looking to hire. We have great quality of life, low cost of living, etc. Compared to some other markets, and I’ve been to a couple of these cities, and I know a lot of founders that gone to the Nashvilles or Austins of the world, and they’re like, ‘Charlotte’s really nice compared to these others. This is a great place to start a business.’ I think we could do more to attract more companies who are starting to come here to grow.”
What do you mean we need to do more to attract companies? Is that tax breaks, is it more money for innovation, what does the city need to do?
“What you hear a lot of is funding. There’s not a lot of funding for the companies that are fundable. I think that breaks down into a couple of things. We have a lot of companies in Charlotte that want to get funding to get out and try this idea but they’re not yet fundable. There’s a lot of money here. We have a lot of wealthy individuals who made their money in financial services or in real estate. And they want to invest in a startup but they don’t know how, so there’s an education gap there. On the other side, you have companies that have an idea and want to go out there and find funding, to validate this idea. That’s not the way it should work. Companies need to crack that code, do that customer discovery, solve real problems, and then the funding will be easier to get.”
Between Austin, Nashville and Raleigh, would Charlotte rank last in the startup community?
“Raleigh/Durham, and that whole area, I would say is in a different league. I don’t think we’re trying to be them. I think there’s opportunities for us to collaborate. We’re not that far away, but we’re not there.”
The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s co-hosted by Sean Clark-Weis and Sallie Funderburk and is a production of the Charlotte Observer and Brian Baltosiewich.
Cover image via @weststoneee on Instagram