Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship Releases Its First Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Growth Report Tracking the Impact of Innovation

CHARLOTTE, NC--(Marketwired - Mar 28, 2016) - The Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship (CRFE) recently released the "The Impact of Innovation: Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report," the first in-depth study of the state of entrepreneurship and innovation in the market -- and Charlotte's position in comparison to competitive cities. This Growth Report is representative of the initiatives that the CFRE, along with other stakeholders of Charlotte's entrepreneurial community, will invest in to advance the regional ecosystem. The analysis of data sources highlighted Charlotte metro strengths and national rankings while uncovering significant shortcomings for action. A complete presentation of the report findings will be presented formally to the Charlotte City Council tonight, Monday, March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.

The survey of companies revealed substantial revenue and employment growth among ventures that compete effectively in national and global markets. The companies participating in the report collectively represent anticipated revenue of $1.3 billion in 2015 and projected full-time employment of 2,350. More importantly, in aggregate, they rank between publicly-traded Piedmont Natural Gas and Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated. Among those participating, the CRFE profiled seven successful Charlotte area companies to showcase the innovation sector in the region. These companies included AccruePartners, AvidXchange, InfoSense, Passport, Peak 10, SQL Sentry and T1V.

"We are honored to be featured in the Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report for 2015. With three years of record growth at AvidXchange, as well as the addition of IT jobs citywide, we believe that the technology sector is taking hold in Charlotte," commented Michael Praeger, CEO and Co-founder of AvidXchange. "With additional talent fueling our innovation, service and support for invoice and payment automation, we are anxious to see 2016 unfold."

Additionally, the Growth Report measured outcomes and expectations for area entrepreneurs, providing insight into the technology trends that evaluated Charlotte in comparison to other metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Austin and San Francisco. Through this analysis, the CRFE has established benchmarks that will allow further tracking of the success of investments in the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping Charlotte become a hub where high growth entrepreneurial companies thrive.

Key findings of the Growth Report include:

  • Charlotte ranked as 25th in the nation's 40 largest markets by the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, measuring overall startup activity.
  • The surveyed companies experienced a 23% average revenue growth rate in 2014 and an expected revenue growth rate of 44% in 2015.
  • Those same companies expect 23% employment growth in 2015, which could result in over 600 new jobs. Moreover, the compensation for these jobs is significantly higher than the Charlotte metro average, and the compensation increases as the companies become more mature.
  • Charlotte's technology innovation potential is limited, with innovation capacity activities such as research funding and patents below the average metropolitan benchmark.
  • Charlotte's overall startup activity is below the benchmark average for other metropolitan cities.
  • Charlotte significantly lagged all cities benchmarked in the study for venture capital investment between 2011 and 2014.
  • Strong support for the importance of entrepreneurs to Charlotte's economic vitality was identified in the community survey of the general population.

"We are pleased with the outcome of this study and report," said David Jones, Chairman and CEO of Peak 10, a Charlotte-headquartered IT infrastructure and cloud solutions provider, and a longtime member and advisor to BIG. "It showcases the significant milestones that Charlotte's high-growth entrepreneurial companies have achieved while also indicating the challenges in our region with regard to entrepreneurial growth. Having this data provides us with groundwork for innovation and finding ways to improve."

Jones adds, "We never anticipated an immediate solution from this study and its results, as growth takes work and focus over time. I believe that Charlotte will build on its entrepreneurial successes and deal head-on with the challenges."

Additionally, the CRFE board and City of Charlotte staff will facilitate a one-day Solution Design Sprint to engage a diverse group of stakeholders in crafting a strategic action plan to move forward, based on the findings from the report. The workshop date is Friday, April 22. For more information, contact Holly Eskridge at

The Charlotte Entrepreneur Growth Report was created through research and surveys led by Ventureprise in collaboration with the Business Innovation & Growth Council and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. For more information and access to the full report, visit For inquiries concerning report content or use, contact Ventureprise at or 704.687.0900.

About The Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship (CRFE)

The Charlotte Regional Fund for Entrepreneurship (CRFE) is a new entrepreneurial initiative spearheaded by the City of Charlotte and administered by Foundation for the Carolinas. Its purpose is to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem, support increased innovation, improve development of high-growth entrepreneurs, and ultimately increase job creation. CRFE will make investments to support organizations and initiatives that cultivate high-growth, entrepreneurial and innovative enterprises while creating economic wealth in the Charlotte region. For more information, visit

About Ventureprise

Ventureprise, Inc. is a venture development organization that supports the commercial success of early-stage, innovation driven entrepreneurs. Through ready-for-business office space located on the campus of UNC Charlotte and comprehensive programs, Ventureprise offers the premier location for inventors, researchers and innovators to come together for business success. With the help of Ventureprise, university researchers and entrepreneurial companies access resources they need to accomplish rapid business growth through a supportive ecosystem made up of community resources, academia and corporations. For more information, visit

About Business Innovation & Growth Council (BIG)

BIG is a non-profit membership organization, founded in 2006, comprised of like-minded high growth entrepreneurial companies in this region who share similar challenges in growing their businesses. BIG provides education, content, and best practices for a growth oriented company as well as access to resources and capital. The value of BIG is the peer-to-peer exchange that develops from being in the group. For more information, visit

About the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute

The institute is a nonpartisan, applied research and community outreach center at UNC Charlotte. Founded in 1969, it provides services including technical assistance and training in operations and data management; public opinion surveys; and research and analysis around economic, environmental, and social issues affecting the Charlotte region. The institute is part of UNC Charlotte's Metropolitan Studies and Extended Academic Programs, which includes a number of the university's community engagement initiatives. For more on UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, see

Contact Information:

Terry Cox
B.I.G. Council

Kaitlin Sheppard