Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Eastern North Carolina Economic Development

The Kenan Institute and its centers focus special attention on research and consulting projects that strengthen the economic health of eastern North Carolina.

Projects focus on helping communities in this chronically distressed 40-county region of the institute’s home state: assess their competitive assets, develop innovative new strategies to promote economic growth, and mobilize resources to pursue them.

Business Growth Projects

  • Center for Strategic Economic Growth – a $1.6 million center to promote business growth and job creation in 18 eastern N.C. counties by strengthening the regional economic ecosystem.
  • Twin County Business Growth Initiative — identifying companies in Edgecombe and Nash counties that have the highest potential to expand and add jobs, finding out what those companies need to grow, and mobilizing community resources to provide it.

Redevelopment Projects

  • City of Kinston Redevelopment Project — helping city leaders redevelop and revitalize  an area flanking one of Kinston’s  major thoroughfares to enhance the quality of life and create a competitive advantage.
  • City of Rocky Mount Redevelopment Project – helping the city develop a redevelopment plan for its downtown corridor.

Infrastructure and Capacity-building Projects

  • Global Transpark — Aerotropolis and logistics expert and institute director John D. Kasarda provided the theoretical foundation for North Carolina’s investment in building this multi-modal transportation and logistics hub in rural Kinston, N.C. It is now home to Spirit Aerosystems, a key player in the state’s burgeoning aerospace industry.
  • Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative — Eastern N.C. communities are among the beneficiaries of the statewide effort promoted by Faculty Fellow Nick Didow with MCNC to extend broadband access across rural parts of the state.
  • Energy Cost Impact Assessment — evaluating the cost of energy in North Carolina, particularly in the eastern region, and its impact on economic development, and work with communities to develop policy recommendations to mitigate any competitive barriers that may exist.

For information on the institute’s eastern N.C. initiatives and opportunities to promote the region’s economic growth, contact Thomas Stith, program director for economic development, (919) 962-8444 or .