Henderson, N.C. – The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Triangle North to support marketing of its four tax-advantaged parks in Franklin, Granville, Vance and Warren counties. Triangle North is an innovative, award-winning economic-development initiative designed to promote business growth and job creation in the four counties.

“We believe we are on the threshold of a new economic future for four counties, with Triangle North creating jobs and opportunity in the same way The Research Triangle Park did for our region and state,” said Danny W. Wright, chairman of the Kerr-Tar Regional Economic Development Corp. which owns and develops Triangle North. “Golden LEAF’s investment helped launch this project at its inception. We are grateful the foundation has chosen to provide the additional financial support we need at this critical time as our economy improves and business interest in our parks is growing.”

“Golden LEAF is a strong proponent of efforts to support job creation in rural and tobacco-dependent communities,” said Dan Gerlach, president of the Golden LEAF Foundation. “Triangle North has created a promising strategy to attract growing industry to these counties.”

The Golden LEAF grant will supplement funds provided by the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, business investors and others that are supporting Triangle North’s aggressive marketing strategy. The strategy focuses on identifying companies in targeted industries, such as life sciences, technology, aviation and defense technologies and contracting, that are likely to expand and are interested in locating in the innovation-rich Research Triangle Region of North Carolina. Triangle North parks, located in four of the region’s more-rural counties, provide growing companies an affordable point of entry to the region because they offer lower business costs and the highest level of state financial incentives.

The Golden LEAF funds will be used to pursue four specific strategies that target companies in industries for which the region is a world leader or is already experiencing significant growth. The strategies are:

  • Completing a direct mail and call program with previously identified medical device companies that are ripe for expansion.
  • Launching a campaign to identify and reach a high-potential list of traditional manufacturing companies. Traditional manufacturing is on the rise in the region after a decade of decline.
  • Scheduling face-to-face meetings with a select group of companies in a range of industries that are actively looking for a site to expand.
  • Conducting media campaigns in areas targeted by Triangle North’s marketing to generate stories and raise awareness about the benefits the parks offer businesses.

Triangle North grew from a 2002 Golden LEAF-funded study commissioned by the Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP) and conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The study examined the feasibility of encouraging growth to “leap” rather than “sprawl” from a central economic engine, such as RTP, to more rural, outlying areas. The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments (COG), which serves the four Triangle North counties, seized upon the study as an opportunity to chart a new economic path for its communities. Drawing on a history of cross-county collaboration, the COG in 2003 formed a multi-county exploratory committee of community representatives and spent two years mapping how to proceed. It continues to provide administrative support for Triangle North.

Triangle North has leveraged Golden LEAF’s initial $40,000 investment for the study to attract nearly $10 million from state, federal, foundation and private sources since the project began. Regional leaders have used those funds to identify, acquire and develop four prime sites (one in each county); develop land use, business and marketing plans; secure special enabling legislation and a landmark inter-local agreement to share costs and revenues across county lines to develop the parks  – a first-of-its-kind collaboration in North Carolina; form the nonprofit corporation to own and develop the parks; and secure legislation granting Tier 1 financial incentives, the highest level available, to companies that create jobs in any park, regardless of the tier status of its county.

For more information on Triangle North, visit www.TriangleNorthNC.org or call (252) 436-6098.


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