Charlotte Region Ranks #1 Business Climate Over Competitor Cities

January 28, 2011 9:53 pm

In a recent nationwide perception survey on the Charlotte region’s business climate, site selection consultants ranked the Charlotte region as having the top business climate over Atlanta, Nashville, Richmond, and five other competitor cities.

The recent survey of site selection consultants, or “location advisors,” located throughout the United States was conducted with the goal of gathering their perceptions of the region’s business climate and how it stacks up against its competitors. Location advisors are an influential group of individuals responsible for advising companies on where to locate new facilities, expand existing ones, or relocate operations.

Of the 228 location advisors invited to participate in the survey, there were 61 respondents, leading to a 26.8 percent response rate. The following are a sampling of the key findings from the survey:

– Charlotte ranked #1 business climate, beating out Atlanta, Chicago, Greenville-Spartanburg, Jacksonville (Fla.), Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, and Tampa.

– Of the location advisors who have explored the Charlotte region for a project, 26 percent report that the region was ultimately chosen as the site for the project for these top reasons: availability of an appropriately skilled workforce, location/accessibility of the region to the market, and quality/availability of incentives.

– The top industry associated with the region is financial services and insurance. Awareness of some of the region’s growing sectors (energy/environment, defense/security/aerospace, health/life sciences) exists, but they do not rank as highly.

Overall, the survey findings reflected very positively on the Charlotte region and its business advantages. It also reinforced the need to continue marketing the region’s diverse industries and growing sectors such as energy and aerospace/defense. The survey findings provide useful information that will help guide the Charlotte region’s media relations campaign and further target the local economic development organizations’ business attraction and retention efforts.

“The consultants know the region and they view it very favorably. That’s great news for Charlotte. If there is a concern, it is that the region’s image is so closely tied to the banking and finance sector. Communicating assets in other industries – energy, life sciences, defense and others – is needed,” said Andy Levine, President/Chief Creative Officer of New York City-based Development Counsellors International (DCI).

Ernie Reigel, Co-Chair of the Charlotte Public Relations Campaign Board and Chairman of Moore & Van Allen said, “This survey is an important step in ‘benchmarking’ the perceptions of Charlotte held by an audience that’s important to our continued economic growth. We are pleased with the overall positive impression that our region has and now have a clearer understanding of which of our economic strengths need increased awareness through the media relations campaign.”

The perception survey is a component of the region’s national and international media relations program being handled by Charlotte-based Luquire George Andrews (LGA) in partnership with DCI. The marketing program is being conducted on behalf of the Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and Charlotte Regional Partnership, which joined forces to market the entire Charlotte region and hired the agencies in November. The program is being funded through a grant from Advantage Carolina, a Charlotte non-profit organization focused on economic development.

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