Inspiration, Advice & Resources
Podcasts, video series, blogs, recommendations, market data, reports and other miscellaneous resources for beginning entrepreneurs in the Triangle:
The Bull City Summit launched in 2022 as a multi-day festival to connect the region’s entrepreneurs, musicians, artists and creatives. As an extension of the event, the Bull City Summit podcast features interviews with local and national entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors and more.
Check out this interactive infographic from Duke University’s Office of Translation and Commercialization (OTC), featuring stats about the campus’s invention activities. The data includes startup formation statistics alongside the number of invention disclosures, agreements and patents OTC received over the last year. The 2023 report counts 325 inventions, 486 patent applications, 104 issued patents, 125 active startups and 15 new ones. Licensing revenue set a new record, topping $102.5 million.
CASE in Point is a podcast produced by Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE), a division of the Fuqua School of Business. The program features interviews with innovators, entrepreneurs and executives from social ventures and impact investing firms.
The Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s annual Venture Report provides an overview of North Carolina’s innovation economy, including the latest data on equity funding, deal flow and exits.
The latest (2022) edition tracked $4.2 billion in capital raised by 246 companies across 269 funding events. The Triangle accounted for 84% of venture investments, followed by Charlotte, the Triad, and then the western and eastern sides of the state. Read more TechWire coverage here.
The Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s newsletter and blog are two great tools to help you stay updated on the latest news, events, resources and programs within the Triangle’s startup ecosystem. The blog also contains tips and advice from experienced entrepreneurs and mentors. You can sign up for the newsletter on CED’s homepage and check out the blog here.
In 2023, the City of Raleigh launched a self-service Small Business Insights widget providing detailed market research reports with location- and industry-specific resources to help local businesses grow. Entrepreneurs and small business owners can use the tool to assess their venture’s performance against competitors, discover potential customers and partners/suppliers, and optimize targeted advertising. The widget is powered by SizeUp, a California-based business intelligence service provider.
In April 2023, the City of Raleigh launched a series of in-depth “Startup Roadmaps” to help local businesses navigate the business formation process in their respective industries. Links to each roadmap are below.
- Restaurants: This section covers zoning, special districts, the site plan review process, hiring licensed design professionals, building and sign permits, outdoor seating, curbside pickup zones, food service and alcohol regulations, city beer/wine licensing, and more.
Here’s a roundup of more than 30 startup books, video series and podcasts produced in the Triangle.
In July 2020, WRAL TechWire launched a new column from Donald Thompson, a prominent local investor and entrepreneur. In his weekly column, Thompson shares leadership advice spanning a variety of subjects, from funding to hiring to diversity and inclusion efforts.
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has a Duke Fuqua Insights blog where Duke faculty members and experts share details on some of the studies and research they’re working on. A lot of the subject matter is relevant to entrepreneurs, including how to succeed at crowdfunding, CFO and CMO surveys, and improving communication between operations and finance teams. There’s also a Duke Fuqua Insights YouTube playlist, where professors and experts summarize their findings.
Duke University’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship program operates a private LinkedIn group where members can get updates, ask questions, share ideas and opportunities, and stay in touch with the campus’s growing network of founders, investors, researchers, creators and business leaders. You can join it here.
Duke University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative offers a comprehensive resource guide specifically geared towards social impact startups. The guide includes information on social entrepreneurship fellowship programs, funding opportunities, venture support, suggested reading, and more.
DurhamBusiness360, a resource provided by the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, offers a comprehensive overview of the steps new business owners need to take to start and grow a business in the Bull City. The site guides entrepreneurs and small business owners through the process of registering their business, planning an opening/launch, marketing, emergency preparedness, filing taxes, and more.
Digital Health Institute for Transformation (DHIT) produces an interview podcast in which DHIT Co-Founder and President Michael Levy sits down with leaders in the digital health, life science and biotech communities to discuss the future of healthcare.
The Downtown Raleigh Alliance has compiled a helpful list of Raleigh business incentives, available resource space, reports, plans and publications, and more resources for new businesses or existing businesses that want to relocate to downtown Raleigh.
EntreDot, a mentorship program for startups and nonprofits, has developed a comprehensive collection of vlogs offering step-by-step advice to entrepreneurs. EntreDot Founder Bill Warner provides an overview of several topics relevant to founders—everything from market research and sales to technology and development to financing to HR and management. Check out the playlist here. Subscribe to the YouTube channel here.
Produced by American Underground and hosted by entrepreneur Naya Fela Powell, the Equity Raise Podcast features diverse startup founders sharing their experiences, how they overcame barriers, the lessons they’ve learned along the way and more.
This new podcast is hosted by seasoned Triangle investor Tim McLoughlin, who is a partner at Cary-based VC firm Cofounders Capital. Every week, he shares tips on VC and angel investing and interviews other investors. The first two episodes featured Walk West CEO Donald Thompson and Mindshift Capital Venture Partner Marcia Dawood.
NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues hosts a podcast, called “First in Future: Where Emerging Ideas Take Flight,” featuring interviews with business leaders, entrepreneurs, elected officials, researchers and innovators who are helping lead North Carolina’s future.
Launched in 2020, Founded Connect is a new podcast from Raleigh Founded (formerly HQ Raleigh) that interviews Triangle-area resource providers and the people who run them.
Wellistic, a startup based in HQ Raleigh, is building a network of wellness providers and partners where companies can get discounted rates for their employees. As a way to give back to the startup community, Wellistic makes this program free for companies with less than 25 employees (minimum of five employees). This is a helpful resource if you’re a founder of a startup or small business with a small team. More details here.
Talking Shop is a video series from Research Triangle Park-based startup prototyping lab Hangar6. The monthly series features a one-on-one discussion with entrepreneurs and innovators from the Triangle area. Episodes are streamed on Hangar6’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Two Raleigh-based sister entrepreneurs, Dana Kadwell and Courtney Hopper, host a weekly podcast discussing the challenges and thrills of starting a business with fellow entrepreneurs.
IDEA Fund Partners, one of the Southeast’s most active early-stage venture capital firms, publishes articles about a variety of startup-focused topics on their Medium page.
The Innovation Road Trip series from Capitol B Creative Studios (a division of WRAL TechWire’s parent company, Capitol Broadcasting) profiles the people, organizations, companies and programs that contribute to the state’s ever-growing innovation and entrepreneurship community. Season one tells the stories of CRISPR gene-editing researchers, UNC Chapel Hill’s Innovate Carolina, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Beaufort-based Jarrett Bay Boatworks, CBRE Raleigh and Gig East in Wilson.
The Kenan Institute, a unit of UNC Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, produces research and analysis of trends in business and entrepreneurship. Read the reports to get the latest insights on private equity funding, small business investment gaps, industry market research and more.
Local Entrepreneurs Offer Advice
TechWire’s contributors regularly offer startup advice. Here are some examples from local entrepreneurs and leaders:
- Chris Heivly: Don’t let your dinosaur brain set your startup attitude
- David Gardner: Get real about market size if you expect to land investors
- Donald Thompson: Why DEI? ‘Good for culture – good for business’
- Jes Averhart: Take courage! Strong teams are comprised of courageous leaders
- Jim Roberts: Why startups should seek federal grants as a source of capital
- Joe Procopio: Cofounder quandary – Here’s how to find the right one for your startup
- Lauryn Colatuno/RIoT: What every entrepreneur must know before starting a business
- Nick Jordan: 7 obstacles to overcome for success in healthcare IoT
- Sam Bayer’s ‘Stories at Work’ series: In October 2022, TechWire launched a new series from Durham entrepreneur Sam Bayer, who will share his leadership experiences and advice for local startups.
- The NC Biotechnology Center’s company directory is a helpful tool for anyone interested in starting a life science startup in the Triangle or in North Carolina in general. It’s a good way to check out peer startups and connect with local resources.
- NCBiotech also offers free and open access to their extensive market research collection, which includes over 400 life science research reports. Check out NCBiotech’s guide to market research for more.
- Another great resource is NCBiotech’s core labs directory, which includes university-based laboratory facilities, most of which are available for use by outside companies.
The NC Broadband Infrastructure Office‘s OneMap tool offers insights on broadband service availability across the state. Companies and individuals can use these resources to find broadband service offerings in their area.
The North Carolina Department of Commerce has a helpful suite of resources available for businesses and nonprofits, including a list of state grants and incentives, site search data, economic development reports, labor market analysis and more.
Produced by the NC Department of Commerce’s Office of Science, Technology & Innovation, the North Carolina Innovation Index tracks the state’s performance in the innovation economy across 40 measures. Comparing the state’s metrics with national trends, the report shows North Carolina’s progress in a competitive landscape.
The North Carolina Secretary of State oversees record-keeping and registration for business entities operating in the state. The office also handles the trademark duties in North Carolina to help businesses protect their intellectual property. The Secretary of State’s website has a helpful resource guide packed with information for anyone who’s looking to launch a business in North Carolina.
On NC State Entrepreneurship’s YouTube channel, you’ll find pitches and interviews featuring student founders, 101-style videos on topics like market research and networking, and overviews of startup programs and other resources for innovators on campus.
This resource from NC State University Libraries is packed with market research and business planning sources. It’s divided into several subtopics, including finance and investing resources, data on industries and supply chains, markets and advertising, and GIS (geographic information system) information.
Startups of any size can use this resource for a range of purposes, from creating a well-informed business model and identifying funding opportunities to conducting market research and due diligence.
NC State’s Poole College of Management hosts a web series called “Startup Stories,” featuring alumni entrepreneurs and business leaders sharing their success stories.
Through its Tech Innovation Index, the North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH) provides a detailed snapshot of how the state’s metro areas compare to other top regions nationwide. Launched in December 2021, the annual report measures tech innovation across three categories: tech talent supply, talent demand and innovation. The latest edition ranked two Triangle hubs—Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Cary—within the top 10 metro areas. Find the 2023 report here and more TechWire coverage here.
The North Carolina Technology Association (or NC TECH) posts interviews, webinars, panel discussions, workshops and more resources on its YouTube channel.
The National Venture Capital Association (or NVCA) provides legal document templates to free up time for entrepreneurs and investors so they can focus on growing their ventures. Designed to be used in venture capital financings, the legal model templates include items such as term sheets, stock purchase agreements, voting agreements, management rights letters, and more.
This podcast, hosted by UNC Entrepreneurship Center Director Ted Zoller features the stories and insights of entrepreneurs who hustled their way to success. The program is part of the Entrepreneurs Genome Project, which involves the research of students in UNC’s Entrepreneurs Lab course. Subscribe here.
In March 2022, local podcast production company Earfluence held a podcast marathon at its studio in Durham’s American Underground. The eight-hour event featured a series of interviews with prominent guests in the Triangle, including several local startup leaders like Donald Thompson of Walk West, Jason Caplain of Bull City Venture Partners, Johnny Hackett Jr. of Black Dollar Corp. and Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood.
NC State’s Poole College of Management hosts a podcast featuring university faculty and industry leaders sharing their perspectives on thought leadership.
Headed by Raleigh-based Black Dollar Corp., Raise Up! is a free platform where small business owners, startup founders and organizations can request funding, sponsorships, donations or other forms of support from the broader community. The platform serves as a crowdsourcing tool for financial assistance and resources.
Raleigh Founded’s Innovators’ Guide to Raleigh is packed with information about the Oak City’s growing startup scene, including a recap of the previous year’s developments, success stories, plans for the future, and more. Read the latest (2022–23) edition here.
Bob Ingram, general partner at Durham-based Hatteras Venture Partners, has been instrumental in helping to build up the Triangle’s technology and life science ecosystem. In this feature from TechWire, Ingram shared his view of the Triangle’s growth and what’s needed for the future. His insight can give entrepreneurs some perspective on their community—past and present.
Jes Averhart, a local entrepreneur and former executive director of Leadership Triangle, hosts the Reinvention Road Trip podcast. Launched in 2020, the program features women founders sharing their insights on a range of subjects, from burnout and imposter syndrome to leadership strategies and successful pivots.
Check out this video from the Research Triangle Regional Partnership about how the Triangle is a hot destination for business:
Research Triangle Park’s annual Community Impact Report provides a look into the continued growth of the RTP ecosystem. It includes an overview of RTP’s newest projects, partnerships and initiatives, along with a list of accolades and recent announcements about companies expanding or relocating to RTP. The latest report documents the community’s growth in 2022, reaching over 375 established companies and startups and more than 60,000 employees.
This resource from the Small Business and Technology Development Center has everything businesses need to know about marketing their products online. The 46-page guide includes content calendars, worksheets and practical steps covering everything from messaging and strategy to keywords/SEO to social media.
The Small Business and Technology Development Center’s Intellectual Property Guide provides education for small businesses and inventors on the potential time and financial investments that may be involved with developing an invention and maintaining intellectual property rights. The guide goes in depth into patents and manufacturing, with helpful references and other resources. PDF here.
Starter U is the Brian Hamilton Foundation‘s free, self-paced online course teaching everything entrepreneurs need to know to start, run and grow a business. Instruction is led by Hamilton, together with other local entrepreneurs like Bobby Martin (founder of Raleigh-based Tilly) and Scott Ogle (former CEO of Sageworks). It also features video interviews with DJ Joe Bunn, Jake Finkelstein of Method Savvy, and other startup founders and CEOs.
This is Wake Technical Community College’s central hub of free resources for local entrepreneurs. StartUp at Wake Tech offers free business counseling, workshops and seminars, how-to guides and other content to help anyone start or grow a business in the area. The program launched in September 2021.
Founded by local entrepreneur Robbie Allen, Startomatic is a software platform that offers the ability to take an idea and turn it into a company with a domain name, logo, website, and email and social media accounts. The service also helps beginning entrepreneurs to process the necessary legal paperwork and state filings needed to start a business. More TechWire coverage on Startomatic here.
The annual “State of the Region Address” delivered by RIoT Executive Director Tom Snyder lays out the progress, opportunities and threats facing the Triangle over the course of the year. In the 2022 edition, Snyder addressed changes in the labor force, supply chain struggles and inflation, domestic and foreign affairs, the growth in entrepreneurship, and more.
This annual report, produced by the North Carolina Technology Association (NC TECH), is a comprehensive source of data and trends demonstrating the vibrancy of North Carolina’s tech sector. The latest edition (2023) reports on the workforce and economic trends permeating the state’s base of over 25,000 technology establishments. Read the report here and more TechWire coverage here.
In July 2022, TechWire launched a series of in-depth reports profiling the Triangle’s startup hubs—communities supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. Read to get an inside look into how the local startup ecosystem operates:
- Going inside the First Flight Venture Center: An exclusive interview with the First Flight Venture Center’s Krista Covey and Caroline Brinkley about the RTP-based life science incubator’s past, present and future impact.
- Inside the American Underground: Tim Scales, executive director of Durham’s American Underground, shares what’s unique about the startup incubator and coworking space. (Note: American Underground is owned by Capitol Broadcasting, the corporate parent of WRAL TechWire.)
- Inside the 10-year journey of Raleigh Founded: Raleigh Founded Director Lauren Romer discusses the organization’s 10-year impact as one of the Triangle’s earliest coworking spaces.
- Inside Raleigh’s unique Loading Dock: Jessie Hathcock, COO of The Loading Dock, shares how the Raleigh-based coworking space is expanding its reach through a new “cowarehouse” model.
- Raleigh’s Black woman-owned innovation hub, The Wright Village, is going strong: Mel Wright, owner of Raleigh-based The Wright Village, reports continued growth two years after opening a space for Black women entrepreneurs and other marginalized founders.
- Inside Gig East: Bringing technological innovation to eastern North Carolina: Emily Wells of Greenlight Community Broadband shares the impact of Gig East Exchange, a coworking space in downtown Wilson that serves as a hub for eastern North Carolina’s thriving entrepreneurial community.
- Inside Frontier RTP: Our latest Triangle Startup Guide exclusive report: TechWire spoke to Jan Mactal of the Research Triangle Foundation on Frontier RTP’s success, distinctive offerings, growth plans and more.
- Previewing what Innovate Carolina hub will offer: Sheryl Waddell, UNC’s director of economic development and innovation hubs, offers a preview of an upcoming coworking space aiming to anchor the campus to Downtown Chapel Hill’s thriving innovation district.
- Welcome to Durham Bottling Co. – bringing a community-focused approach to startup hubs: TechWire spoke to Durham Bottling Co. Founder Nick Jordan and Community Manager Irene (Hui) Bowditch on the new space’s community-focused niche, trends in demand, plans for growth and more.
- Triangle Startup Guide exclusive: Inside 79 West entrepreneurial hub: Lee-Moore Capital Company CFO Kevin Scanlon discusses Pittsboro’s newest startup space, 79 West, which aims to bridge the economies of Orange and Chatham counties and support a variety of entrepreneurs, not just those in tech.
- Coworking and daycare? Yes – that’s what makes Blush Cowork in Cary unique: Blush Cowork Co-Founder Alison Rogers talks about the Cary-based coworking space and what sets it apart: It’s North Carolina’s first women-focused coworking community offering childcare.
- ‘The future of RTP:’ Horseshoe at HUB RTP celebrates groundbreaking: TechWire caught up with Jan Mactal of the Research Triangle Foundation to discuss Horseshoe at the Hub, a 125,000-square-foot mixed-use space coming to RTP soon.
- Triangle Startup Guide exclusive: Going inside The Wright Village: Raleigh’s first Black-, woman- and veteran-owned coworking space reports solid growth and an uptick in virtual office demand, prompting plans to launch an online community and move into a larger space.
*List is ordered by publication dates, starting with the oldest on top
In this podcast, local entrepreneur Brian Hamilton shares his practical approach to building a bootstrapped business that’s focused on prioritizing getting customers.
Hosted by local entrepreneur and investor Donald Thompson of Walk West, this podcast features interviews with startup founders, VCs and community leaders, who share their experience and advice.
Hosted by local entrepreneurs Dave Gold and Justin Minott, The Enlightrepreneurs Podcast features interviews with startup founders and small business owners, who share their entrepreneurial journeys and lessons learned along the way.
The Fuqua Show is a podcast run by students at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. The show features dozens of interviews with students and alums working on a range of projects and startups, from social ventures to sports businesses to health care. It also sometimes brings on Fuqua faculty and staff to share their professional journeys and leadership lessons.
Aaron Dinin, founder of local startup RocketBolt and an entrepreneurship instructor in Duke University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, frequently writes on Medium about his experiences as an entrepreneur. His blog posts cover several topics of interest to entrepreneurs, including how to navigate the fundraising process, how to pitch to potential investors, how to market your product, and more.
From September to October 2021, WRAL TechWire produced a six-part multimedia series covering Raleigh’s most promising startups with “unicorn” potential (a term designated for companies surpassing the $1 billion valuation mark). Click the links below for an inside look at the companies profiled:
- Raleigh data startup is working to protect world against fraud – a story of ‘Tomorrow’s Unicorns’
- Artificial intelligence startup in Raleigh has the smarts to be a billion dollar company
- ‘Edge computing’ is tech’s next frontier – and Raleigh startup EDJX is a pacesetter
- Alexa on steroids: Raleigh startup Pryon explores new frontiers for smarter assistants
- As global supply chain teeters, this Raleigh startup unravels knots with blockchain
- Sky’s the limit for Triangle cybersecurity startup protecting clients in age of ransomware
The series was complemented by a LinkedIn Live series dubbed “Chats with the Founder,” which you can watch here.
Presented by the NC Biotechnology Center, the Transformation Talks podcast offers an in-depth look at the life science community in North Carolina.
The organizers of Triangle Small Business Week, an annual event, have set up a helpful resource package for local entrepreneurs on their website. It has contact information for local Chambers of Commerce and economic development agencies, among other resources.
Tom Snyder, a local tech leader and head of Raleigh-based RIoT, reviews the Triangle tech scene’s top accomplishments since the mid-1980s. The column offers a brief history of the leading organizations supporting local startups, from CED to NC IDEA to Raleigh Founded.
Every year, local entrepreneur and investor Scot Wingo releases his “Triangle Tweener” list of promising companies in the RTP area. After its launch in 2015, the list was published annually on Medium and in local media. In 2023, Wingo and his team introduced an interactive database for the 250-plus companies in the mix, including 51 new names added this year. Read more TechWire coverage here and here.
On its YouTube channel, UNC Chapel Hill’s Entrepreneurship Center posts a variety of interviews, workshops, webinars and entrepreneurship trends reports for local startup founders and teams.
Wake County Economic Development’s website offers a host of business resources including information about the Triangle’s largest industries, demographics statistics, workforce development data and more useful tools for businesses and investors. You can also read their latest annual report to get a sense of local trends in the job market, investment, development, talent attraction, competitiveness, and more.
This piece from Inc. Magazine covers North Carolina’s positioning as a “bustling epicenter” for tech startups, talent and culture.
This locally produced podcast features favorite quotes, business stories that teach valuable lessons and sales/marketing best practices to apply to life and work. It’s hosted by Triangle-based marketing expert Keith Washo, president of KDW Consulting President and co-founder of Startup Summit, alongside co-host Vijay Damojipurapu, author and head of product and marketing at San Francisco-based Vimana.
Your Back Yard Raleigh provides content and resources for startups and small businesses in Raleigh and Wake County. On its website, Your Back Yard hosts a directory of locally owned stores, restaurants and service providers in Raleigh. It also posts interviews, webinars and advice videos on its YouTube channel.
If you’re a UNC Chapel Hill student who wants to get more plugged in to I&E clubs on campus, this helpful list is for you.