Regional Economic Summit to focus on opportunities for Northeastern NC

by Think Currituck, on 10/3/21 10:02 PM

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The very first Regional Economic Summit will take place on Thursday, October 14th from 8am to 4pm at the K.E. White Graduate Center on the campus of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) in Elizabeth City, NC.

The inaugural event, subtitled "Economic Opportunities: Now and Into the Future," is being presented by Elizabeth City State University, along with Atlantic Union Bank, Towne Bank and the Albemarle Commission

"We were looking for the best way to engage different groups in the region," said Paul Tine, a Trustee at ECSU and one of the event organizers. 

"It's been a tough couple of years," he said. "We wanted to provide a platform for collaboration. People are ready to network and collaborate again."

The all-day event will feature several breakout sessions, a keynote from North Carolina's Secretary of Commerce Machelle Sanders, and an economic forecast from Dr. Kingsley Nwala, Professor of Business & Economics at Elizabeth City State University.

Tine is excited about the forecast because it focuses specifically on the region of northeastern North Carolina.

"We've never had anybody focused on this region," Tine said. "There have been economic forecasts, but they've always been centered on Norfolk and Hampton Roads in Virginia or on Greenville in North Carolina."

Is there one big idea or opportunity that rises to the top?

"It's not really a single thing," Tine said. "It's a bunch of different things."

That's why the Regional Economic Summit will cover a variety of topics from renewable energy and economic gardening to minority businesses, workforce development and offshore wind opportunities.

The day will also include discussions about farming, transportation, broadband expansion and tourism.

It's a lot to cover in one day, but goal of the summit isn't to solve all of the regions problems overnight.

"There is no silver bullet," Tine said. 

He added that the event is a way to start engaging all of the different resources, communities and players. Tine sees it as a step towards unifying the region.

"Part of our mission is to assist with economic development in the region," he said. "What ECSU brings to the table is information and training."

For Tine, sharing information and best practices will help existing businesses grow, access bigger markets and compete in today's changing markets.

Of course, one of the biggest contributions that ECSU can make to the local economy is in the form of graduates.

"Our mission is to create a workforce equal to the opportunities," Tine said. "If they don't have jobs when they come out, we're not doing something right."

If you're interested in attending the Regional Economic Summit, click here to register by October 4.

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