Editor’s Note: Clark Rinehart is the interim executive director of Innovate Raleigh. This post is one portion of a WRAL TechWire series on gratitude, published in November 2021.
RALEIGH – There’s a lot to be thankful for this year: science, meaningful relationships, and the greater Triangle community that is working together day-after-day to solve complex issues as we grow.
Outside of my family and friends, I’m particularly thankful for teachers. My kids are 5 and 3.5 years old. Like many around the world, we have struggled to ensure that our kids are healthy, safe, and engaging with their peers (alongside trying to do both of our jobs!).
But, the real heroes are our teachers. They have showed up daily on behalf of our community, in an already difficult job during the average year, and surrounded our children with love, care, and compassion as we try to figure out what this new world looks like.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the teachers out there!
Also, entrepreneurs in the Triangle and North Carolina have to be thankful for a vibrant ecosystem, locally and statewide, that is poised to support them as they launch and grow their ventures.
I’m frequently asked, “Why North Carolina?”, by my friends outside the region.
From my perspective, people’s perceptions of what we have accomplished and are looking to build in our startup ecosystem is quite different from what is happening on the ground.
And, my response is often: “Why Not North Carolina?”
We have incredible people, a strong talent pipeline, a diversity of industries that are thriving, a collaborative spirit, access to more and more capital, phenomenal mentors, a unique culture, an approachable community, and an insatiable drive to build a more equitable region for all of our neighbors among other things.
Over the next few years, we will have the opportunity to showcase what the future of innovation and entrepreneurship looks like… and, it’s not being thought of as second to Silicon Valley or Austin or any other community. It’s being us at our best: inviting, hospitable, accessible, and unashamedly inclusive.
For all of these things and more, we ought to be thankful as we look towards 2022.