Wake County Economic Development (WCED) had the privilege of hosting Jeff Hoffman, co-founder of Priceline.com and serial entrepreneur at this year’s Economic Development Forum. Hoffman provided a global perspective on why it’s important to foster and support entrepreneurial ecosystems, as well as offered a framework for Raleigh, Wake County, and the Triangle to spur even more startups, entrepreneurs, innovators, and new jobs.
Hoffman spoke to the importance of entrepreneurs because of the innovation and problem-solving skills they bring to the market; he said, “if you want to make the world a better place, unleash an army of entrepreneurs.” He was quick to note, however, that entrepreneurs can’t be boxed into a category of just creating internet companies and making money. Instead, an entrepreneur is about designing and owning the future, helping to make a difference. According to Hoffman, entrepreneurs have the power to improve our city and region if we continue to attract and retain them. We do this by sustaining a world class quality of life since highly-skilled millennial talent first looks for where they want to live, and then finds a job.
The good news is, noted Hoffman, Raleigh and the surrounding region is already headed in the right direction when it comes to supporting and attracting entrepreneurs to the area, as well as supporting innovation. Hoffman spoke to the multiple coworking spaces and incubators including HQ Raleigh, ThinkHouse and American Underground that are helping catalyze these efforts, as well as the three research universities and colleges producing talent. Raleigh and the Triangle region has been impressive to Hoffman in the recent years, and he expects even more good things to come if we continue to tell our story on an international scale, sustain our world-class quality of life and integrate entrepreneurs into our community’s fabric.