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STRATEGIES THAT INSPIRE GROWTH: COMMENTS ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The challenge for economic developers is to stay focused on the future by pursuing opportunities rather than trying to solve problems of the past, said George Gilder, noted author, educator and entrepreneur.
 "Don't solve problems, pursue opportunities," Gilder said. "That's how this nation will grow."
 Gilder was the featured speaker at a symposium on economic development at North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C. The symposium, sponsored by Centura Bank, North Carolina Wesleyan College and The Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, brought together economic development experts to discuss strategies to inspire growth for the 1990s and beyond.
 Gilder, and award-winning entrepreneur, stressed human assets as the foundation of economic development.
 "Ideas and people really constitute the sources of economic development, not resources and territories," Gilder said.
 John Dornan, executive director and president of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, agree, pointing out the importance of team building.
 "Collaboration, the ability to take an unusual team approach, is the key to economic development," Dornan said.
 Tapping existing human resources will help generate ideas that can stimulate job growth.
 "Community entrepreneurial development is the key," said Bob Luddy, founder of the Triangle Entrepreneurial Development Center in Raleigh. "Know-how is profoundly more important than capital."
 The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, according to Martin Eakes, president of the Self Help Credit Union, and must be fostered, especially in minority communities.
 "In 1988, $2 million was given to (the Credit Union) for small, minority businesses in North Carolina," Eakes said. "In six months, over 1,000 (loan) applications came in. There were no defaults on those loans."
 The rapid change of technology today -- particularly in the area of communications -- is reshaping economic development, especially in rural areas. Several of the speakers at the symposium said economic developers must adjust to this new reality.
 "We're in the middle of a tremendous wave of technological transformation," said Bob Mauldin, chairman and chief executive officer of Centura Bank. "That change can be a powerful force for our benefit if we view it not as a threat, but as an opportunity."
 "The triple revolution of sand (the silicon chips used in computers), glass (fiber optic cable and its ability to transmit vast quantities of information) and air (wireless communications) will transform the world economy," Gilder said. "We must move from industry primarily governed by the law of the Microcosm to the law of the Telecosm, the interconnection of computers which will ... elevate the whole technology of communication."
 The rapid growth of technology makes clear goals a necessity for economic development.
 "We must come up with realistic ideas on how to change ides and institutions, to see what the future holds and what all of us can do about it," Mauldin said.
 Setting goals is especially important for education, which several speakers cited as one of the most important challenges for economic development.
 "The key question we have to answer in education is what do we want our kids to come away with after 13 years in North Carolina's school system," Dornan said.
 Another important challenge facing economic developers is the burden of over-regulation by government.
 "We need to develop a new cooperative spirit in government -- focusing on entrepreneurial development -- and North Carolina will be the leader in America," Luddy said.
 "One key is entrepreneurial free enterprise, to develop solutions government can never create or understand," Mauldin said.
 And finally, the speakers turned to those ready for action, leaving economic development of the region and state to its leaders and citizens.
 "We have enough people to change the world nine times over," said Dr. Leslie Garner, president of N.C. Wesleyan, "so let's try it."
 -0- 11/5/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Additional comments from the symposium are available from Thomas Beam at Centura Bank, 919-977-8406/
 /CONTACT: Doug Haynes, director of Marketing, of Centura Banks, 919- 977-8429/
 (CBC)


CO: Centura Banks, Inc.; North Carolina Wesleyan College ST: North Carolina IN: FIN SU:

SB -- CH008 -- 1431 11/05/93 18:21 EST
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