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Charlotte’s next-gen economy
Time to catch the high-techology wave
Published Friday, May 23, 2014 12:00 pm
by David Howard

Throughout its history, Charlotte has accomplished economic development by advancing infrastructure and strategic workforce training to support industries in the region.  Charlotte has grown in to a financial hub and an energy capital because entrepreneurs, economic developers, urban planners and a progressive electorate were visionary, intentional and committed to building communities that are increasingly desirable for businesses, visitors and families.  Our reputation for success hinges on our collective intelligence and resolve to make big ideas reality.

Charlotte attracts thousands of visitors and transplants every year because it is viewed by the rest of the country as a city on the move; a city that has a sound infrastructure for business and job creation.  With advancements in mobile technology, it is now possible for an entrepreneur to relocate her business to Charlotte without having to start all over because LinkedIn and other platforms have virtually replaced physical access points for business (or offices and storefronts).  Our growing technology base has the potential to move Charlotte to become a global competitor for attracting technology based entrepreneurs.

With technology infrastructure investments made in preparation for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and potential investments from AT&T, Google, Comcast, Microsoft and others on the horizon, Charlotte is poised to enter the global realm of “Smart Cities” like Barcelona which is the home of the Mobile World Capital.  Our community college and universities are successfully training our local workforce in informatics, big data analytics, mobile computing, and nanotechnology.  Packard Place and UNC Charlotte’s small-business incubators are facilitating entrepreneurship and collaborative technology development.  The tools are in place, but the question is how do city leaders and private business come together to move beyond our traditional vertical business models to a more linear and horizontal, connected business environment where innovation is spurred by mobile computing.

On June 2 at 8:30 a.m at the Government Center, I will host the first Re-Think Charlotte Salon with four world-renowned tech leaders to discuss how our city might re-position itself as a contender and host of the emerging mobile technology industry.  Our panel will include executives from the Global System Mobile Association, Mobile World Capital, Acta Consulting, and TNBT Global – all leaders in mobile technology with key insights about the infrastructure and environment Charlotte can cultivate to develop the East Coast’s Silicon Valley.   My goal is always to create jobs for our residents; and through this discussion, we can prime Charlotte to host the next generation of business.  I hope you will join us for this discussion. 

Visit www.ReThinkclt.com for more information.

David Howard is a member of Charlotte City Council.

What: Re-Think Charlotte Salon

When:   June 2 from 8:30-10 a.m.

Where: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, room 267; 600 East Fourth Street


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