Experts Expecting Good Year for Triad Start-Up Activity

GREENSBORO -- At the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship, Radius Semiconductor’s co-founders are working hard to move the company from its research and development stage to a point where it is actually making sales.

"We're working a lot more, but we're doing what we really enjoy, and I think that's why a lot of people start up, because they can control their own time and create their own vision," said Tom Gratzek, a co-founder.

The company creates technology used in computer chips. Gratzek and the other founders launched the start-up in mid-2015, mainly because market conditions seemed ripe.

"We were looking for a different trajectory to our careers, and we knew our skills were very specialized, but they could be used worldwide,” Gratzek said.

But in the Triad more generally, experts say there's another big force pushing people toward launching start-ups.

"I think the surge in our particular community has come from necessity because from 2001 to 2011, large employers eliminated about 15,000 jobs in Guilford County and entrepreneurs have created about 18,000,” said Sam Funchess, the Nussbaum Center’s president.

Funchess also pointed to certain signals that could encourage even more would-be entrepreneurs in the Triad to take the leap this year.

“We've started to see some investment activity going on in start-ups,” he said. “Last year, we had about $5 million put to work in start-up businesses, and that is the most we've had in a number of years, and that is a great indicator of things to come."

Funchess encouraged those thinking about starting a company to seek out resources like the Nussbaum Center or other outlets in the area.

“There’s more resources available to entrepreneurs in this community than anywhere else,” he said.

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