From tobacco to tech and beyond…

With unparalleled access to talent and a strong appetite for entrepreneurialism, Durham has undergone an economic evolution. Durham successfully transformed its 20th century business landscape largely based upon tobacco and textile products to a thriving technology and research economy.

Durham’s nimble economy has seen three major phases in the last 200 years:

  • Tobacco and Textile (1850’s to 1970’s)
  • IT and Computing (1970’s to 2000’s)
  • Life Sciences and Green Tech (2000’s)

Fueled by the country’s largest research park, Research Triangle Park, and generations of results driven entrepreneurs, Durham is a rocket ship.

Talent is plentiful with three Tier 1 research universities at our doorstep: Duke University, UNC Chapel Hill and NC State. Other terrific institutions like NC Central University plus eight colleges and universities provide Durham with an abundance of highly-skilled, specialized workers.

High tech and traditional manufacturing are on the rise, with an additional 1,200 jobs announced in 2013.

A rich creative culture of artists, brewers, writers, restaurateurs and more bring yet another flavor of entrepreneurship.

Google for Entrepreneurs, recognizing Durham as a hotbed for startups, partnered with American Underground in Durham after recognizing it as one of the key tech hubs in the United States.


Known as The City of Medicine for its excellent hospitals, Durham boasts nearly one in three workers employed in a health or medical related industry.


Durham Work Force Infographic

Durham Historic Nodes activity


Learn More about Durham’s Industry Clusters >>