King named one of states best places to start a business


A recent study by NerdWallet has ranked King as one of the top 20 places in the state to start a business.

“We are honored that others are recognizing our City, and we are proud of the business climate that continues to grow and develop in King,” said King City Manager Homer Dearmin. “Our city’s elected leaders and staff, and the King Chamber stand ready to help new and existing businesses, but what amazes me is the cooperative spirit that exists among the majority of businesses in our community. That quality is essential to fostering a sense of place, and I think that is a major contributing factor to our city being one of the top places in our state to start a business”

King Chamber of Commerce director Cathy Loveday agreed.

“I am so proud to live in a city that continually looks for ways to grow our economy and attract new businesses,” she said. “Our city officials are willing to improve housing, public safety, education, and appearance in order for new businesses to have a desire to locate here in King. The Chamber of Commerce strives to support our local businesses and any new business that is looking for a wonderful community to call home.”

The survey was based on U.S. Census data covering 121,462 businesses in 115 communities in North Carolina.

According to the survey King has 703 businesses with an average revenue per business of $1,319,595. The survey found that 34.85 percent of those businesses had paid employees and the city had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent.

Pineville toped the list of top twenty locations to start a business, followed by Morrisville, Mount Airy, Hickory, Morehead City, Conover, Brevard, Aberdeen, Reidsville, Hendersonville, Southern Pines, Kernersville, Waynesville, Mocksville, Hillsborough, Whiteville, Lumberton, King, Oxford and Clinton.

In the study, NerdWallet analyzed communities with a population of more than 5,000 and with 500 or more businesses excluding places that lacked data, calculating the score for each location using the following criteria:

Business climate (65% of the overall score). This was based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey:

Average revenue of businesses (20% of the score) — a higher average contributed to a higher overall score.

Percentage of businesses with paid employees (25% of the score) — a higher percentage contributed to a higher overall score.

Businesses per 100 people (20% of the score) — a higher number contributed to a higher overall score.

Local economic health (35% of the overall score). This was based on three metrics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey:

Median annual income (10% of the score) — a higher median contributed to a higher overall score.

Median monthly housing costs (10% of the score) — a higher median contributed to a higher overall score.

Unemployment rate (15% of the score) — a lower rate contributed to a higher overall score.

A few key takeaways from the statewide NerdWallet survey:

Technology is crucial

Ted Zoller, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, points to Research Triangle Park. Created in 1959, it’s one of the country’s top high-tech research-and-development centers.

The park, Zoller tells NerdWallet, is giving rise to a “robust and deep entrepreneurial stack.”

“We’re on a roll. We definitely are,” Zoller tells NerdWallet. “There’s an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem that’s just supercharging.”

Tourism and seniors give the state a boost

“A lot of retirement communities are springing up all around the place,” says Moses Acquaah, director of the MBA program at the Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

And North Carolina’s mountains and beach communities, he tells NerdWallet, are a potent draw for tourists.

Small doesn’t necessarily mean small time

Half of the top 10 places on the NerdWallet list are towns and cities with fewer than 10,000 residents. Except for the city of Hickory, all of them have fewer than 20,000. Catawba County stands out in the survey, with two cities — Hickory and Conover — in the top 10.

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

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