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North Carolina Highlights Innovations to Attract Companies, including Amazon, to Be its Next First

N.C. Department of Commerce Asks Citizens to Showcase State Firsts #NCnextfirsts

Date: 11/14/2017

Contact: Hannah Harrill
Phone: 919 814-4612

Raleigh, N.C. – Secretary Anthony M. Copeland announced today an initiative to attract business by highlighting the world-class, inventive, and forward-thinking nature of North Carolinians through the NC Next Firsts campaign. The North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the state’s public-private economic development organization, are implementing the effort. 

“North Carolinians embrace firsts and are eager to welcome innovative companies committed to excellence, including Amazon,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “North Carolinians embody a spirit of collaboration, and our state is uniquely positioned to be the home of many more impressive ‘firsts.’”

North Carolina is recognized as “First in Flight,” but many innovations brought to life in the state showcase the state’s exemplary talent. Below are some North Carolina firsts the campaign will highlight: 
  • Prosthetic Hand with Individual Finger Control invented. 2016. Charlotte, N.C.
  • Shipping Container invented. 1956. Red Springs, N.C.
  • Ctrl-Alt-Del Reboot Command invented. 1981. Research Triangle Park. N.C.
  • Barcode invented. 1969. Raleigh, N.C.
  • Solar and Pedal Powered Electric Vehicle invented. 2013. Durham, N.C. 
  • First woman in the U.S. to obtain a patent for an architectural design. 1870. Charlotte, N.C. 
  • First Public University. 1795. Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • First State-Funded Art Museum. 1946. Raleigh, N.C.
  • First Gold Rush. 1799. Concord, N.C. 
This campaign will support North Carolina’s efforts to attract business across the state, while some efforts will focus on the Amazon HQ2 bid. Four North Carolina communities have submitted proposals to Amazon for the HQ2 project, including the Charlotte Region, Hickory, the Triad and the Research Triangle Region.  

Secretary Copeland and Governor Cooper are encouraging residents to share their NC first and its importance by uploading a photo or video on social media. Participants should tag #NCnextfirsts. 

A t-shirt illustrating NC firsts will be given at random to social media users tagging #NCnextfirsts. Discover more by visiting @NCnextfirsts on Facebook. Citizens can also order a #NCnextfirsts t-shirt at  All t-shirt proceeds benefit the N.C. Science, Mathematics, and Technology (SMT) Education Center,, providing children in North Carolina with the necessary resources, knowledge and skills to excel in science, mathematics and technology. 

The NC Next First campaign will include digital media and outdoor transit ads launching in downtown Seattle, home to Amazon’s headquarters. 

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), the state’s public-private economic development organization, works in partnership with the N.C. Department of Commerce and local economic development groups across the state to recruit new businesses, support existing company expansions, connect exporters with customers around the globe, help small business owners get their start, and promote North Carolina as a premier tourism destination.



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