This month CED is spotlighting a strategic partner in an effort to help propel Triangle entrepreneurial companies onto the national stage as successful businesses. In February our Strategic Partner Spotlights is EY.

How does your company help North Carolina entrepreneurs?

EY helps North Carolina-based entrepreneurs through partnerships and alliances with local schools, colleges, and universities, as well as civic and business organizations across the state. EY is heavily involved in North Carolina’s Financial Services industry through supporting and helping grow innovative technology-based financial services entrepreneurs. EY also runs several initiatives designed to recognize and help accelerate the growth of local entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneur Of The Year® program and the Charlotte wavespace™.

EY is heavily involved with North Carolina-based schools, colleges and universities, and local civic organizations to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs. Our local Partners are actively engaged with the UNC Charlotte Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Entrepreneur Center, the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University, Ventureprise® at UNC Charlotte and The College Map program. Our EY Charlotte office has entered into a Strategic Alliance with Olympic High School, where dozens of local professionals work with junior and senior high school students to help them excel is science, technology, engineering and math courses. EY is also involved in a firm-wide campaign with local Junior Achievement chapters to mentor the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs on financial well-being, developing business plans and understanding financial infrastructure resources.

EY Partners have board seats on local chambers and business alliances, such as the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and the Winston-Salem Chamber, which provides our executives with the opportunity to help entrepreneurs understand the breadth of resources locally available. As board members of these organizations, EY has the capacity to help grow and support the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and aid member companies identify local, regional and national resources. EY is also a sponsor of the Private Director’s Association Charlotte Chapter, which helps private companies create value through the active use of Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards

EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® program

For over thirty years, EY has recognized hundreds of North Carolina entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneur Of The Year® (EOY) program. EOY is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards programs for entrepreneurs, where finalists and award recipients are chosen from an independent panel of judges of their peers that includes entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from business, finance and the local community. The program makes a difference by recognizing the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, through regional, national and global awards in more than 60 countries. 

EOY has helped North Carolina entrepreneurs expand their network and build relationships with other successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, elevate the prominence of their company’s brand and celebrate and build team morale by publicly recognizing their team and support network. In addition, this program has helped North Carolina entrepreneurs increase exposure to potential customers and suppliers, M&A opportunities, and private equity and venture capital investors.  

North Carolina FinTech industry

EY plays a key role in growing the regional FinTech ecosystem through a collaborative community effort. A founding member of the Carolina FinTech Hub (CFH), economic empowerment non-profit with the mission to attract, retain, and grow Fintech talent and companies throughout North Carolina. Our EY team has been instrumental in developing CFH’s online presence, creating digital content (blogs, podcasts), assisting with events, facilitating hackathons, supporting the launch of the Workforce Investment Network (WIN) – a community technical retraining program for the underserved, and emphasizing Fintech and the entrepreneurial spirit to the Charlotte community.

EY has been heavily involved in all of CFH’s Hackathon events by actively supporting the development of Proofs-of-Concept, Design Thinking training, and final pitch material review. Our EY team mentored participants as they built solutions and conducted storytelling training with all 8 finalist teams to help craft a compelling pitch. This challenge connected businesses with students, giving the students real-world experience and the tools to build a solution while enabling the businesses to learn from the students and develop the regional talent pool. Without having a way to fund a transformative idea, entrepreneurs struggle to follow their dreams. Often seed or venture funding is thought to be limited to Silicon Valley, but these CFH pitches show that there are investors locally that want to help entrepreneurs succeed.

EY is a direct sponsor of Queen City Fintech, a Charlotte-based Fintech accelerator program. EY has led workshops and provided direct feedback and advice on the pitches from the entrepreneurs. EY mentors are also aligned to different teams where we support the entrepreneurs throughout the accelerator. By mentoring FinTech companies through programs such as QCFintech, EY is sharing our expertise to help Fintech start-ups and entrepreneurs succeed. EY also hosts learning sessions for each cohort and serves as the lead mentor for one Fintech in each class. Through these mentoring opportunities, EY has been able to holistically guide over 30 FinTech companies through complicated issues such as securing funding, tax structure, and business strategy.

Charlotte wavespace™

EY recently launched the EY wavespace™ in Charlotte, which helps entrepreneurs face the challenges and opportunities of continuous change, digitization and disruption by tapping into innovative thinking across EY’s disciplines, experience, and industry sectors. The center features a shared methodology and platform that combines EY’s experience in areas including disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics process automation (RPA), blockchain, data analytics, digital, customer experience and cybersecurity, and EY’s deep industry domain and regulatory experience. The center has a range of technology and market focus, with dedicated teams of multi-disciplinary practitioners in disruptive innovation to help create a new market or a new way of creating value. The center also hosts convergence sessions, where clients from disparate industries share experiences and knowledge.

What does your company envision for the future of entrepreneurship?

EY sees the future of entrepreneurship in North Carolina as the continued disruption of the financial services industry and greater access to local funding for North Carolina-based entrepreneurs.

Recognizing the FinTech industry is rapidly changing with disruption threatening the existence of traditional banks and jobs in the community, EY has partnered with clients and stakeholders to create FinTech initiatives to help turn the threat of disruption into an opportunity to redefine Financial Services in North Carolina and shape the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders.

Under the current state of funding for entrepreneurs in North Carolina, access to local capital is limited as most venture capital and private equity firms are located outside the state and entrepreneurs must go outside North Carolina to gain access to funding. EY Partners envision more funding opportunities within North Carolina, particularly funds that provide anchor investments, which are early-stage investments that provide subsequent investors a degree of confidence in the business.

In identifying these changes to the future of entrepreneurship in North Carolina, EY continues to partner and support local colleges and universities and civic and business organizations to develop curriculum and programs designed to prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs to face these changes and offer local support to help their companies grow.   

About EY

At EY, our purpose is Building a better working world. The insights and quality services we provide help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients, and for our communities.

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