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The Latest News in Economic Development

Photo of La-Tasha Best-Gaddy, Anita Hicks, and Dr. Bellandra Foster at a Strategic Marketing session with IBM on May 28

In May, an IBM marketing team was onsite at The Institute to assist in refining the overall Strategic Marketing plan and to identify additional key audiences and customers for The Institute’s fundraising efforts and programming initiatives.

For almost 30 years, The Institute has identified and addressed challenges in the economic pipeline for diverse businesses by structuring and facilitating programs that equip companies to do business better. Over the years, The Institute has established and promoted its Women’s Business Center, Minority Business Development Center, South Atlantic Transportation Resource Center, Public Allies, On-the-Job Training programs, and more. Now that reach has extended into advocacy, innovation, and policy through The Procurement Center, The Center of E, and The Policy Center.

Through development and enhancement of a Strategic Marketing Plan, The Institute will expand its reach using traditional and non-traditional marketing methods to connect with current funders and partners, but also to engage with new business owners, corporations, foundations, and community organizations. The Institute’s website has been upgraded and new direct email tools are also available to consistently provide news, updates, and opportunities to The Institute’s constituents. In upcoming weeks, The Institute will feature more prominently on social media platforms and use original and retro-video content to support its storytelling and content creation.

In March, The Institute received an IBM Impact Grant, which was used to provide valuable strategic planning and consulting services to The Institute—at no cost—by means of a team of IBM seasoned professionals. The grant program is a part of a corporate-wide program that provides consulting expertise and software specifically designed to support educational and not-for-profit organizations in their efforts to serve communities.

Strategic Marketing activities for The Institute will introduce the organization and its impact to larger audiences and increase opportunities to serve as a positive change agent within business development. Nationwide, small businesses create one out of every two jobs, so it is imperative that The Institute and its partner organizations focus on the contributions of small minority-owned businesses to reverse current economic trends and widening unemployment gaps for people in minority communities. As a leader in the economic development space, The Institute continues to provide an invaluable service to the diverse business community and fills a gap that has traditionally left a void in the marketplace, specifically for small and minority-owned companies. You can join in the conversation and follow The Institute’s progress online at  or @TheInstituteNC on Twitter.