Food Processing%26 Manufacturing In addition to our strong agricultural industry, NC is the second largest animal and household processing and manufacturing of Tyson, Campbell's and Smithfield. North Carolina companies lead the country in innovation with 96 percent patent growth over the past 10 years. With a commitment to long-term sustainability, North Carolina is one of the top states for solar and wind energy production and is home to more than 1,700 clean energy companies. Our extensive resources, highly skilled workforce, and renowned education systems contribute to the ingenuity of our future-oriented state.
In addition, organizations such as the North Carolina Technology Association advocate for innovation and facilitate professional connections by bringing together leaders in industry, government and education. For more information on North Carolina business licenses, permits, and certifications, see the state website. Each center is dedicated to supporting the development and retention of small businesses, helping entrepreneurs do everything from drawing up business plans to navigating the state's tax code. They cite business advantages, such as low taxes, an active business environment, and significant investments in research and capital funding.
The first step in the registration process is to choose an available business name; you can see if the name you want is available by searching the state database. Governor Cooper has focused on supporting businesses during the pandemic, developing partnerships to ensure workers and consumers can visit businesses safely. Investments like these helped North Carolina have one of the lowest COVID-related deaths, as well as per capita job losses during the pandemic. Hundreds of automotive-related companies operate in North Carolina producing components such as engines, transmissions, brake systems and trim and finishes for vehicle interiors.
North Carolina institutions are among the top recipients of research funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and the state ranks high in cryptocurrency mining, a new factor in this year's ranking. The choice to start or grow a financial sector business here also brings you closer to advocacy groups such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But North Carolina remains one of five lawless states that protect non-disabled residents from discrimination, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It also invested resources to help businesses most affected by the pandemic, providing direct cash support to the hospitality industry through the Business Recovery Grant Program and keeping women and minority-owned businesses afloat with the Retool NC Program.
The North Carolina Treasury Management Association also supports the industry, as does Queen City Fintech, which works to create a community that fosters growth, drives innovation, inspires growth, and fosters inclusion in the startup, finance and insurance sectors. Now, 80 years after starting the company, Krispy Kreme is still headquartered in Winston-Salem, giving the world a reason to thank North Carolina for one of the best fried foods in history. At 2.5 percent, North Carolina's corporate income tax rate won't affect the bottom line if you're in the financial services industry. It's 2.5% lower than South Carolina's highest corporate income tax rate and 3.5% lower than neighboring Virginia.