NCGrowth, an affiliated center of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, has been awarded $1.3 million in new funding as part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) 2017 University Center Economic Development Program Competition.
The five-year award, consisting of a $590,000 EDA grant and $700,000 in matching funds from the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, will be used to conduct applied economic research, assist growing businesses and support regional development in distressed North Carolina communities.
“We help create jobs in communities that need them most by working with local leaders, academics across the U.S. and amazing students,” said Mark Little, director of NCGrowth and executive director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.
NCGrowth has used previous federal and foundation grants to help local entrepreneurs create sustainable business plans and to investigate ways in which municipalities might capitalize on their historic and cultural assets to foster economic development.
For instance, NCGrowth recently led development of a business plan to support Tortillas Carolina, a Robeson County tortilla manufacturer. As a result, the company is now prepared to increase production from 25,000 to 120,000 pounds of tortillas a week. An earlier EDA grant enabled NCGrowth to develop a new community economic development plan to create good jobs, support better education outcomes and recruit convenient retail options in Bertie County.
The purpose of EDA’s University Center Program is to leverage university assets to promote American innovation and strengthen regional economies.
UNC-Chapel Hill joins 21 colleges and universities in 16 states as recipients of the highly competitive 2017 EDA University Center competition.