Public policy can make or break startup activity in the Southeast of the US

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During one of the stops on the Amazon HQ2 roadshow, a team of officials visited Raleigh-Durham in North Carolina seeking to learn more about whether the area was a good fit for the sought-after $5 billion project. According to the Washington Post, one of the items on the agenda was House Bill 2, the 2016 “bathroom bill” decried by many tech companies.

As big tech companies and scaling startups increasingly see the benefits of moving away from the coasts, local leaders must determine what makes their city or state competitive to land these projects. In many aspects, the Southeast is primed to capitalize on both company moves and expansions: A recent analysis showed that many of the cities with the lowest startup costs are located in the South.

However, local leaders in the South are also grappling with challenges. First, there is the question of what exactly startup-friendly legislation is. What will keep entrepreneurs and talent in the South instead of leaving for the coasts, and what will attract entrepreneurs from the coasts to build their startup in the South?

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