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Kenan Institute 2022 Grand Challenge: Stakeholder Capitalism
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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

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As a destination for both migration and business growth, North Carolina must reassess the capabilities of local entrepreneurial and small-business ecosystems to ensure that its diverse population of aspiring entrepreneurs and small-business owners has equitable access to opportunities.

Designed for family business leaders, non-family executives, business-owning families and future leaders, this UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Family Enterprise Center online course is a unique opportunity to create a thoughtful roadmap for succession in family business. Come explore family business continuity challenges and common practices for successfully leading family-owned enterprises. Emphasis is placed on the importance of open, transparent communication in the family; the creation of a shared vision for the business; and the alignment of family and business goals.

Save the date for the Family Enterprise Center's 9th Annual Family Business Forum "Communication in the Family Business."

As a magnet for both population and employment growth, North Carolina has a propitious opportunity to create an inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial and small business ecosystem to support the state’s newfound prosperity.

Small-business owners say they’re just beginning to recover from the sudden blow that hobbled many of them during the early 2020 pandemic restrictions. Now mixed economic messages have them wondering what to do next, according to a Washington Post story. “There is so much that’s up in the air, and uncertainty affects small businesses much more so than it does larger ones,” said institute Director of Research Paige Ouimet.

As venture capital markets have surged in recent years, early access to capital remains highly localized. We examine changes that can help investors connect with underrepresented entrepreneurs outside traditional funding hubs, from innovative organizations to improvements in transportation.

Maryann Feldman, the S.K. Heninger Distinguished Professor in the UNC Department of Public Policy and faculty director of Kenan Institute affiliated center CREATE, testified before the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology on Wednesday.

CREATE, an economic development center at the institute, worked with civic and business leaders in Rocky Mount last summer to plan a Black Business Matters District downtown in an effort to address the racial wealth gap in the area. Executive Director Mark Little will join CREATE’s Rocky Mount partners on a panel at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 24 to share their work as part of Carolina’s Engagement Week.

On Wednesday, Feb. 9, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders joined UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford for a virtual discussion. Sanders discussed the many challenges facing rural North Carolina and the solutions that are being proposed to make the state's businesses and citizens thrive post-pandemic.

Thirty-five percent of respondents from the Carolina Across 100 Survey said that loss of small business had a negative impact on their community during the pandemic. There is good reason to fear this loss. Small businesses play a vital role to their communities. Specifically, they provide economic mobility, breed innovation, deliver crucial services for communities and drive economic growth.

As the pandemic forced shutdowns across the globe, U.S. government entities at the federal, state and local levels worked swiftly to secure known drivers of economic growth and job creation – including entrepreneurial ecosystems and small businesses. And while the programs implemented were widely lauded as successful, the story of who benefitted – and who did not – is more complex. This week’s Kenan Insight explores our experts’ key findings around the roles of policy and implementation in supporting equal access to opportunity.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased economic inequities in a number of ways, including in access to external capital – and while 2020 marked a break-out year for venture-backed firms, the pandemic hit many main street businesses hard. In this Kenan Insight, we explore the forces driving the haves and have-nots in this new economic climate, as well as actionable policy solutions as government support programs wind down.