Survey participants sought



Article Published: May. 5, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

As part of its ongoing effort to stimulate entrepreneurship in the region, the Center for Entrepreneurship at Appalachian State University is currently conducting a follow-up survey about consumer purchasing patterns within Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey, Wilkes and Caldwell counties.

"We need our community's input on this project and hope to receive an abundance of completed surveys to draw conclusions from throughout our eight-county reach," said Lisa Redman, external programs officer in charge of the center's community outreach efforts. "Results of the survey will help the center and other economic developers create strategies to enhance entrepreneurial efforts that spark job creation and increase local buying, and may even shed light on new businesses opportunities that entrepreneurs could take advantage of."

Supported by funding from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the online survey "Exploring Entrepreneurial Opportunities" is open to the public from now until May 20 at http://tinyurl.com/46t3o24 or by visiting the center's website at http://www.entrepreneurship.appstate.edu and following the link to the consumer survey.

"Our local economy thrives on entrepreneurs," said Julia Rowland, assistant director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the Walker College of Business at Appalachian. "Successful local businesses create job opportunities and an abundance of benefits for workers."

The largest employers in the High Country are more likely to pay higher wages, provide greater health insurance and retirement benefits, according to a study conducted by Appalachian's Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Economic Research & Policy Analysis.

The study explores trends in ownership and employment, compensation and benefits, and marketing and promotion activities among High Country businesses. A survey of more than 200 current High Country business owners revealed that 72 percent were entrepreneurs who started the business they own.

According to the survey results, business owners with more than 50 employees were more than three times as likely to provide retirement benefits, two times as likely to characterize their employees' wages as above average, and more likely to pay a larger share of health insurance premiums for their employees.

Appalachian's Center for Entrepreneurship was established in 2006 and works to provide opportunities for students at Appalachian and people throughout the region to learn about entrepreneurship.

The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation was established in 1936 and works to "improve the quality of life for people in North Carolina." Learn more about the foundation by visiting http://www.zsr.org.

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