Durham County

Welcome to Durham, NC

A Rich History with a Versatile Future

Durham has successfully transformed its business and economic landscape from one based upon tobacco and textile products to a modern, cutting-edge economy. GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, and Cree are just some of the forward-thinking companies that have headquarters in Durham.

American Underground

The American Underground launched in 2010 on the historic American Tobacco Campus. Today, it supports 275+ startups across four locations and has been dubbed the “Startup Capital of the South” by CNBC. Inspired by Durham, North Carolina’s century-old entrepreneurial legacy, American Underground is building the counter-story to Silicon Valley– a diverse startup scene rich in innovative ideas and deep city engagement. As one of twelve Google for Startups tech hubs in North America, AU offers its startups a global network of thinkers and resources.

Join the Startup Hub of the South

Noteworthy Characteristics

    • Home to Duke University, one of the nation’s top-ranked colleges, and North Carolina Central University, one of the top-rated Historically Black Colleges and Universities
    • More than 40% of the state’s biotechnology companies are located in Durham
    • Life science and healthcare-related industries employ nearly 30% of workers in the county
    • Duke Hospital and Duke Regional Hospital, two of the top four hospitals in NC, are located here
    • Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is the fourth most successful performing arts center in the US and 6th globally (Source: Pollster Magazine)
    • A reputation as the Foodiest City in the South thanks to Southern Living, Bon Appetit, and the New York Post

Unique Developments and Contributions

Downtown Durham has soared in popularity as a hub for start-ups, with over 50 companies employing 500 people currently occupying the Central Business District. Mostly in the software and IT sectors, they richly complement larger technology companies already established. And a 2,800-seat performing arts center greatly expanded the city’s growing cultural arts offerings to include touring Broadway productions and live performances.  Learn more about Durham’s forward-thinking progress.

“Our founders believed moving Burt’s Bees to the Research Triangle Region was one of their best strategic decisions. This is a business-friendly, progressive region with like-minded people and partners who share our values, plus great access to nature. We have been able recruit and retain top flight talent and thrive here.”

- Jim Geikie -- General Manager, Burt’s Bees

Infrastructure and Support

The county has three major hospitals including the nationally ranked Duke University Medical Center. It is also a leading center of agriculture biotechnology in the US, with BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, and Monsanto all having significant research centers in the community. Learn even more about the available support systems and infrastructure in Durham County.

Connect Directly With Durham County

Interested in learning more about Durham County? Click to connect with their economic development team.


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