A Big Week for (Current & Wannabe) Entrepreneurs And Startups In The Triangle

Downtown RaleighIt has been a big week in the Triangle area for those in and around startups, or those thinking about a new entrepreneurial venture.

In any given week, there are always good events to network and get re-acquainted with those you may not have seen around. This is true for the Triangle area too. However, this week we saw three different great events to not only network, but learn and understand hoe innovative and entrepreneurial the area really is. Read more of this post

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The Need For Raleigh (and The Triangle) To Be Innovative

Innovate RaleighI enjoy being in the outdoors.  Hiking and camping are two of my hobbies I have had since I was a kid.  Well, last night I got the opportunity to hear about RGreenway Raleigh, with an App in process (You can also check them out on Twitter). It will ensure that you never get lost in Raleigh’s and the Triangle’s Greenways.  I got to hear about them because last night was another Innovate Raleigh meetup.

The purpose of these meetups is to let people know about the people, companies, and organizations that are being innovative and to help promote Raleigh as a hub of innovation across the country. Read more of this post

Raleigh’s Future Looks Bright

Downtown RaleighYou would think we would get used to it.  “Get used to what?” you may ask.  Well I am not referring to the 100+ degree heat that the city will be experiencing for the five days.  It is to another Top 10 or Top 15 ranking by some outside organization looking in.  This time AOL Real Estate included Raleigh in its listing of 15 Cities Where The Future Looks Bright.  Why?  Jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

Read more of this post

Hey Raleigh, It’s Time To Startup and Play!

Startup And PlayOn Wednesday evening, The Flying Saucer in Raleigh was packed full of entrepreneurs, startups and throngs of people who want to be near them.

This is just another example of how dynamic Raleigh (and the Triangle) truly is.  And based on discussions and interviews with Aaron Gerry and Patrick Shampine, who organized the event, they think so too.

Aaron told WRAL “The big idea is to create a groundswell of support for consumer-facing Triangle startups by connecting the companies with the community at large,” He continues to stay that both he and Patrick “strongly that the Triangle community is stronger if we all work together. We want to help bridge the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh ecoystems through a collective celebration of entrepreneurship.”

“My focus is to foster relationship building and continue to put momentum behind our ever growing startup community in the Triangle,” Shampine told WRAL.

The whole idea of Startup and Play was not only to get people together that had an interest in startups and the entrepreneurial community, but to introduce many of them to the public.  People were able to learn about Matt Senter and his new privacy oriented photo sharing, play the newest game “Plight of the Zombie” by Sparkplug Games, or sign up with LiPi’s to be beta testers for their new platform.

The list of Raleigh-based startups include:

Be sure to check out all of the great companies.  Although these are not all inclusive, these companies are just an example of the entrepreneurial community in Raleigh and the Triangle.

Let me know what local startups are your favorite.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Raleigh Is The Place…For Fashion?

Redii RaleighLast night I attended a great event launching REDii Raleigh.  What is REDii?  Well I am glad you asked.  REDii stands for Raleigh Emerging Designers Innovation Incubator.  Last night was the official launch party and Fashion Extravaganza which featuring some of Raleigh’s dynamic new fashion designers.

Now I know what you are thinking…why would a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy like me want to attend a fashion show and how does it tie into what I do and blog about.  It all comes down to two things: Read more of this post

The State of Downtown Raleigh

Downtown RaleighWant to get nearly 300 business people, executives, and politicians in one place on a Wednesday morning?  Do an official “State of the Union” type forum and invite a Senior Director from a tech savvy company,an Executive VP, for a large hospitality group, and a newly appointed Economic Development Manager.

Well, that is exactly what happened yesterday at Downtown Raleigh 2012: An Economic Forum held by Downtown Raleigh Alliance. Read more of this post

Even In Down Markets, Businesses Need To Figure Out How To Grow

Believe it or not, businesses can grow in down markets!

This is especially true for small businesses.  However, many businesses are still in survival mode.

As the general population gets larger, the development of niches became more of a potential; especially with the recent trend of buying local.  However the “buy local” can actually be developed nationally and internationally.

Last week I had the opportunity to go to the launch party of Feelgoodz, a 100% recyclable and biodegradable flip flop, in Raleigh.  It was great to see the store and meet the owners.  However, after reflecting on the event, if someone had told me five years ago about a company being successful in this space, I would have thought they were crazy.  Here is a local company that is being successful by developing a niche.  However, their “local” niche ships worldwide.  Here is a prime example of how a small business is being successful by developing its own unique niche.

What are you doing to grow your business instead of just survive?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Oops, we did it again!

No, I am not a Brittany Spears fan, but I think Raleigh is trying to emulate her chart topping song.

Downtown RaleighThe Raleigh-Cary area is consistently getting top rankings in it seems every ranking by every newspaper, magazine, or study. This week is no different. In an ABC news story, the Raleigh-Cary area ranked #3 for the Most Optimistic US Metro Area.

For the past 20 months, the Raleigh area has been at or near the top of 114 list, including 10 so far this year. The types of lists ranges from quality of life to residential market quality to various employment clusters to being one of the top funniest cities.

I moved here in August 2003 from southern California. I had the same reaction that most people do when they move here, “Look at all the trees!”. But after that I got to experience the Triangle and all the great things about it. This is more so now. With such things going on, such as the great entrepreneurial and start-up cultures in both downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham, the increase attention from national studies and publications, and continuous strong presence of NC State, Duke, and UNC academically and athletically, the Triangle will continue to become a major player for new businesses and growth that would make larger cities jealous.

What is your favorite thing about living and working in the Triangle?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Economic, Construction, and Real Estate News

We have had a lot of economic, construction and real estate related news in the past few days.  Instead of looking at just one of them in a vacuum, I am going to highlight many of them.

    • Nationally, consumer sentiment rose to 70.8 in February from 61.5 in January, achieving a sizable improvement. Consumers’ expectations rose to 88.0 from 76.7, while their views on current conditions increased to 45.0 from 38.8.  See the full story here.
    • Whouse constructionarren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now, based on a CNBC interview.  He believes that the market is getting back into a situation that if the homes are held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, the houses are even better than stocks.
    • An article in the Triangle Business Journal states that economic activity appears to be picking up across North Carolina, with fewer people filing first-time claims for state jobless benefits and forecasters predicting a bounce in new housing starts by 2013.

There have been a number of stories in the past several days about the local construction and real estate industries.  Some of it was good and some of it was not.

  • One of the negative stories was the report on the change of the Triangle’s construction industry employment figures.  I feel like we all logically knew this.  However, the numbers show that the Triangle peaked in December 2007 when payrolls were hitting 40,400. Then came the contraction.  By December 2011, according to Virginia-based Associated General Contractors of America, Triangle payrolls had dropped 30 percent to 35,300.  (Check out the full article here).
  • California-based commercial real estate firm Grubb & Ellis filed for bankruptcy.  Grubb & Ellis does have an affiliate in the Triangle.  It appears that Grubb & Ellis will be bought by New York-based BCG Partners Inc. as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.  There is no news of how this will affect the local affiliate.
  • The residential market update for 2011 from Birch Appraisal Group was released showing 2011 average prices and percent to assessed value by jurisdiction for Wake County.  Cary had the highest average price and Apex had the highest percentage.  Garner came in with the lowest in both categories.
  • Preston Development looking at 7,108 acres for Chatham Park, a masterplanned community that mixes the golf course and executive homes of Prestonwood and business hubs of Research Triangle Park.  The idea is to essentially develop a RTP 2.0.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

Big Happenings In Raleigh!

Downtown RaleighThis is an exciting week in Raleigh! You may just not know it!

For those reading this that live in the Triangle, we know that Raleigh tops the list of multiple “Top Ten” type list. (You can see the latest news and list here.) However, you might not of some of the events this week designed to help enhance Raleigh.

On Wednesday evening, the first “Innovation Meet Up” was held. This meet-up is designed for people who want to share their ideas on innovation in Raleigh and learn more about action items and ideas generated at the Innovation Summit that was held on January 18, 2012. The Raleigh Innovation Summit was designed to create a unified vision for the City’s innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives. The discussion topics included:

  • Creating an Innovation Center in Raleigh
  • Branding Raleigh as a City of Innovation
  • Creating Public/Private/University Partnerships
  • Attracting more funding to the region

You can continue to follow the discussions on this by going to their website or following #InnovateRAL on Twitter.

Ignite Raleigh 3Ignite Raleigh 3is being held on Thursday evening at the Lincoln Theater. Ignite events were originally conceived as technology variety shows, but they have grown into much more than that. Ignite is about ideas. Ideas can change the world. And it takes less than five minutes to spread one. Each presenter gets five minutes on stage with 20 slides that rotate automatically after 15 seconds. You can continue to follow the discussions on this by going to their website or following @IgniteRaleigh on Twitter.

Innovation and Ideas are just not the new buzz words but needs to be focused on how we grow the local marketplace and economy. These two events are just the begining of further improvement and great growth.

What are some ways you have seen Raleigh (and the Triangle) grow and what would you like to see?

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at jnolfo@rhinomarketresearch.com.

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