In an effort to make North Carolina's Raleigh-Duram area -- also known as the Triangle -- one of the nation’s "top five hot spots for entrepreneurship and innovation," the region is not only working to redevelop buildings in the heart of downtown Raleigh and expand Durham's haven for startup companies called the American Underground, but it also hired someone to act as "the glue that holds it all together," the Raleigh Public Record reported.
Derrick Minor, innovation and entrepreneurship manager, Raleigh, N.C. Photo courtesy of Derrick Minor
As the city's first-ever Innovation and Entrepreneurship Manager, Derrick Minor, who is the former director of downtown development for the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, will work to retain companies in Raleigh and help them grow.
“Raleigh has some great companies, big companies. How can we leverage those guys? How can we connect the big fish with the small fish?” Minor told the Raleigh Public Record.
As time progresses, City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin said Minor’s role will become more clear. “We want to prevent brain drain and provide the support systems and ways for students to come out of the universities and get assistance, and people in their 20s to 50s, too,” Baldwin told the Record. “Derrick is that guy.”
Such a position within city governments isn't common, but if it aligns with existing efforts of startups, nonprofits, universities and large corporations, Raleigh could be on to something, according to Daniel Isenberg, head of the Babson College Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project, which advises leaders around the world on policies and programs to spur entrepreneurship.
“By itself, nothing is sufficient,” Isenberg told the Raleigh Public Record. “It really requires the vision of the entire environment to be able to make an impact.”
Main photo by Omar Santos/flickr