An Interactive Guide to Setting up a small business in: Person County, Caswell County, and throughout North Carolina
pine trees

About North Carolina

  • Capitol Building, Raleigh
    Capitol Building, Raleigh
    North Carolina Roadside Wildflower Program
    North Carolina Roadside Wildflower Program

    Population: 7.1 million
    (11th in country)

  • Size: 52,669 square miles
    (28th in country)

  • Nickname: Tar Heel State -- the origin is clothed in mystery, but it probably evolved from the fact that during the Colonial period, the colony's chief exports were tar, pitch and turpentine.


The 21st century has seen the transformation of North Carolina from a predominately agricultural state to a major industrial center, with about 17% of the workforce now employed in manufacturing. Although North Carolina is the eleventh-most-populous state, it ranks eighth largest in the country in manufacturing.

Textiles are the top industry in the state, and its presence dates back to 1813 when North Carolina's first cotton mill was built near Lincolnton. Today, North Carolina is the foremost textile manufacturer in the U.S., producing cotton and synthetic fabrics, yarns, threads, knitted goods, apparel and hosiery.

The Tar Heel State is also a leader in the production of wooden furniture. Some 60% of the furniture manufactured in the U.S. is made within a 200-mile radius of Hickory, home of a nationally known furniture outlet center and a furniture museum.
Shopping in Cashiers
Shopping in Cashiers


Museum of Life and Science, Durham
Museum of Life and Science, Durham


Also internationally known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World,” High Point has more than 125 furniture manufacturing factories and is home to one of North Carolina 's largest events...the International Home Furnishings Market, a wholesale buyers market, which takes place there each April and October.

North Carolina 's biggest city, Charlotte, is the second largest banking center in the U.S. Two of the country's biggest banks, Bank of America and Wachovia, are headquartered there. The 60-story Bank of America Corporate Center is one of the largest buildings in the Southeast. Charlotte is also home to a branch of the Federal Reserve, which offers group tours.

High tech industries are primarily located in Research Triangle Park, an important scientific think tank located between Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. With the resources and people available at North Carolina State University , Duke University and the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, the park has become an international center for research, development and cutting edge technology.

Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill are also major national centers for medical research and the latest in medical treatments. Because of its location along the East Coast and excellent highway system, North Carolina is also an important distribution center.


Tobacco is North Carolina 's major crop, and the state's farmers raise around 40% of the tobacco grown in the U.S. , making North Carolina the country's top producer. The state is also the nation's leader in the production of cigarettes and other tobacco products; about half of the nation's cigarettes are made here.

Westbend Vineyards
Westbend Vineyards

Growing grapes for the production of wine is becoming increasingly important. The state is ranked 10th nationally in grape production and 12th for wine production. Conditions make it possible to grow a variety of grapes here, including the native scuppernong, also known as the "big white grape." In 2005, there were 45 wineries in the state, including the one at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville , the most visited winery in the U.S. , as well as several smaller ones also open for public tours, such as the Westbend Winery in Lewisville and the Duplin Wine Cellars in Rose Hill.

For more information on North Carolina wineries, go to

The state is also among the country's top producers of peanuts, pork and turkey.

For more information about North Carolina , click here.

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Go to: About Small Business Center Network (SBCN)

Skip to Step One: Getting Started

The vision of the North Carolina Small Business Center Network is to foster and support entrepreneurship, small business training and economic development in local communities.


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STEP ONE: Getting Started

STEP TWO: Operating a Business
STEP THREE: Business Plan
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