Small Business In North Carolina

Small businesses play a crucial role in driving economic growth and development, especially in local communities. From job creation and innovation to community engagement, small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy and a key reason that North Carolina has been named the “Best State for Business” by CNBC for two years running (2022, 2023).

Job Creation and Employment Opportunities

  • Small businesses (with under 500 employees) account for 99.6% of all businesses in the state, employing over 1.7 million people in various industries.
  • Over the last 25 years, small businesses have created two-thirds of the net new jobs.

Economic Resilience and Diversity

  • Small businesses operate in many sectors. The largest industries for small businesses in North Carolina include: construction; professional, scientific, and technical services; other services; administrative, support, and waste management; real estate, rental, and leasing.
  • This diversity helps support local economies against economic downturns and changes in any one industry.

Export Leadership

  • In 2022, North Carolina exported $40 Billion in goods to the world.
  • In 2016, 157,285 U.S. jobs were supported by goods exported from North Carolina.
  • In 2018, 11,046 companies exported goods from North Carolina. 87 percent were small and medium-sized companies.


  • In 2023, $134,056,997 was awarded to North Carolina small businesses, 68% of which were SBTDC clients.
  • 150 North Carolina businesses were awarded SBIR/STTR grants in 2023; more than half of which were SBTDC clients.

North Carolina Small Business Statistics

The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy releases a report on each state’s small business profile every year. This report includes small business dynamics, total number of small business loans, small business count by size and industry, small business exports, small business ownership share by demographic group, and more.

Read the Report

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