Durham is in the midst of an entrepreneurial boom. Entrepreneurs and startups are attracting national attention from the public sector, Silicon Valley investors, and talented individuals worldwide.

In 2013, Google recognized Durham has one of the seven key tech hubs in the United States.

From its beginnings in tobacco and textiles to Black Wall Street and the Research Triangle Park, Durham is a community of entrepreneurs who value creative ideas, asking “What if?” and bringing talented people together to answer that very question.

In this section:

Google Tech Hub

In 2013, Google for Entrepreneurs partnered with American Underground in Durham after recognizing the organization and the city as one of the key tech hubs in the United States.

When Google hosted Google Demo Day in Mountain View, California, Durham was the only community that sent not one but two companies (Windsor Circle and Automated Insights) to pitch to investors like AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Durham startup Windsor Circle won the day, and each Durham startup received a spontaneous investment of $100,000, thanks to Mr. Case.



Learn More about the Talent Fueling Durham’s Tech Scene >>

Startup Accelerators

First Flight Venture Center
2 Davis Dr.
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Email: info@firstflightventure.org
Phone: (919) 990-8558


Park Research Center
12 Davis Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Email: parkinfo@rtp.org
Phone: (919) 549-8181


BD BioVenture Center
BD Technologies
Business Development
21 Davis Drive
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709


The Accelerator for Translational BioSciences at The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences
The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences
6 Davis Drive
P.O. Box 12137
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2137
(919) 558-1200


Triangle Start-Up Factory
American Underground – 334 Blackwell St, Suite B-005
Durham, NC 27701
Email: info@thestartupfactory.co


Groundworks Labs
American Underground – 334 Blackwell St
Durham, NC 27701
Email: info@groundworklabs.com


Launchbox Digital
American Underground – 334 Blackwell St
Durham, NC 27701
Email: contact@launchboxdigital.com

Social Entrepreneurship

In Durham, entrepreneurship extends far beyond the tech industry.  We’ve cultivated social entrepreneurship by offering opportunities to start and grow organizations or to partner with existing organizations with a social mission.

From education and poverty to sustainability, Durham’s fearless social entrepreneurs are improving lives both in Durham and worldwide.

With so many impactful organizations tacking society’s needs, it’s tough to fit them all into one page!  We’ve selected three below just for a taste.



SEEDS teaches respect for life, for the earth and for each other through gardening and growing food.  Located in t
he heart of Downtown Durham, we are an urban sanctuary focused on promoting principles and practice of sustainable agriculture, organic gardening, food security and environmental steward ship.

SEEDS’ gardens are a source of education and food unlike any other – and is a model for how communities can leverage unused or underused spaces to create vibrant community resources.



Bull Citfellowsy Forward

An organization that considers Durham the best place to launch ideas that will improve the world, Bull City Forward leverages
resources, relationships, and knowledge to build a community of talented change-makers.

For example, Bull City Forward supported four fellows in its inaugural class (8 total, if you want to do the whole FY):

Keval Mehta of INRFOOD created a mobile application allowing users to improve their health by having instant access to nutrition facts and impact on food sensitivities as well as existing health conditions and goals. He now has more nutrition info than Wikipedia.

Rachel Lichte founded Clarity Project with a vision of creating a way to purchase diamonds that are guaranteed to be ethically sourced. After purchasing a two-acre diamond mine in Sierra Leone, she offers living wages and other benefits to create reasonable work environments.

Tatiana Birgisson of Mati celebrates natural foods with her all natural energy drink, which lacks the negative health effects of high-dose caffeine and artificial flavoring. You can find her product at Whole Foods in North Carolina.

Jack Beuttell, founder of VentureFarming, wanted to create stronger ecosystems for beginning farmers, in response to the devastation resulting from factory farming. He found that he could affect change by creating BlackDirt – a farmer-friendly financing solution.




A growing, local non-profit, Kidznotes is a catalyst for change that uses music to build a thriving network of children, families, and partners where the passion for music unleashes the human potential to transform lives and communities.

Studies repeatedly find that music training is positively associated with more complex brain development, higher school achievement (e.g., math, reading, SAT scores, graduation rates, etc.), and a host of measures of long-term social, economic and emotional well-being. Second, research suggests that the earlier the introduction to music, the greater the impact or benefit.





Startup Directory and Job Board

To view startups in Durham and the Triangle, visit www.downtowndurhamstartups.com and submit a free profile.  You can also post any internships or job opportunities or simply connect with other entrepreneurs!

Co-Working and Office Space

Depending upon the stage of your company and desired amenities, there are a number of office space options for entrepreneurs in Durham.  For downtown office space, visit www.downtowndurham.com and select “Find your space” or search the state’s database for a broader look at options in Durham.

American Underground, with two downtown Durham locations, is a great option, providing both co-working and office space in the heart of Durham’s funky downtown. Plus free coffee, a slide, games, and superfast wi-fi!

Bull City Co+Working sits next to the sundries shop and restaurant, Parker & Otis and near the Brightleaf Square historic district.

Mercury Studio is a community minded co-working space located in the heart of downtown.

Finally, there are many other incubators in the community including First Flight Venture Center that offer a great place to start. Visit www.ffvcnc.org for more information. And don’t forget the dozens of outstanding coffee shops and bars that are great places to meet!

Networking Opportunities

There are a variety of meet-ups in the Triangle that give entrepreneurs a chance to gather and talk shop.

Big Top 

Freelance League of North Carolina

Blacks in Tech – RTP

RTP New Tech 

Durham Meetup

Splat Space

Refresh the Triangle


How to Start and Grow a Business >>

Building a Tech Scene

There are SO many people and SO many companies that continue to drive and build Durham’s world famous tech hub. This is just one slice of how the Durham Chamber played a role and some of the successful marketing programs that helped to create opportunities for tech entrepreneurs.

Learn More >>

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