Mystery Startup Theater, participate in our most unique event yet as we Flip this Pitch


As we help the entrepreneurs who are taking a risk, sometimes we, as an organization, also have to go beyond our own comfort level and think differently to provide a new set of resources for the regional entrepreneurs. So we have a NEW concept for an exciting and unique event.

After four years in Wilmington, it was time to refresh the way we host events and wanted to spark a new interest in the local startups in the regional economy. We would appreciate your support for this event.

(I want to thank NEW members, sponsors and friends Keith Markfield and William Mansfield for challenging me to create more unique events beyond investor panels, sales training and marketing seminars.)

We have a new event sponsor for this event – – Executive Search Firm

Ronda Acker is our new event sponsor –

In March, at the DigSouth conference in Charleston, SC, the dimming light in my brain went on full power and I have been noodling on this event ever since. At DigSouth, I saw a Raleigh based entrepreneur give a flat presentation about their exciting product and business. And I wondered if they had the right person on stage presenting since the founder, who was the innovator, was so flat, was maybe tired of giving the presentation for the 100th time with little success and was going through the motions and therefore failing during a HUGE opportunity.

We have named this event, Mystery Startup Theater, or in simpler terms, “Flip this Pitch”.

Logistics of the Mystery Startup Theater Event – October 15

We have found three promising local startups, that we will not name here, who are seeking to refresh their investor pitch or their value proposition pitch to attract more resources, more investors, more community support and more clients.

We have found three high profile mentors from the Raleigh / Durham market who have agreed to communicate with the three Wilmington entrepreneurs for a month to get the REAL download of the situation, opportunities and challenges of the startup.

The TWIST to this event is that after communicating with the Wilmington entrepreneurs for a month, the MENTORS are going to take the stage and the MENTORS will give the pitch.

After the presentation, the presenting mentor will be asked the tough questions you would see during an angel investor presentation or venture capital presentation or a strategic partner presentation. These questions will be asked by the other two mentors participating and maybe some regional investors. The entrepreneurs will join the mentor to answer these questions and then address the crowd about what they learned from the mentor during this process of organizing this event.

After the three presentations are done, each of the startups will be assigned a table where the audience can approach with ideas or contacts that might help the companies with fuel for their growth in Wilmington.

One of those needed resources is the value of the participation of ACTIVE mentors. I have been very vocal that Wilmington’s GREATEST untapped resource is the high number of successful business executives who have relocated to Wilmington over the last thirty years.

We have three goals with this event:

1. Show the entrepreneurs participating and the audience full of entrepreneurs and community leaders how an experienced entrepreneur/executive presents a company with pride and passion. A refresh of a presentation that can help the startup moving forward. We hope the audience can put themselves in the shoes of the entrepreneur/mentor on stage and how they can properly prepare an investor/value proposition pitch to attract the resources they need to grow.

2. Wake up the audience and community about the potential of these three local companies that could be the next nCino or UnTappd. I feel these three local companies have big potential but feel the community has maybe tuned them out because of the focus on other startups who have some built-in advantages. (And even with those built-in advantages, scaling a startup is VERY tough.)

3. Maybe the presenting mentors from the Raleigh / Durham area can play a larger role with the company moving forward and open new doors in the industry. And be an example to Wilmington mentors on the kind of help the entrepreneurs need to have a positive impact on the local economy.

Yes, the UNCW CIE has a new formal mentorship program and yes I am participating when possible. To be 100% clear, I do support that program and they are starting to have an impact on supporting local entrepreneurs. Here is more on that mentor program:,000-nc-idea-ecosystem-grant.html

But I am eager to find local and regional mentors who are willing to get their hands dirty and get ACTIVE with the companies they are advising and not just sprinkle some advice from time to time. To be fair to the mentors, not all entrepreneurs are good ACTIVE listeners.

For this event, I have asked ALL of the entrepreneur ecosystem leaders in the southeast from Raleigh to New Orleans and many investors that I know, and they LOVE this idea and are eager to replicate the theme if it succeeds.

So again, we are asking for your support for this special event. Please RSVP now and share this event with your professional contacts who SHOULD be involved.

We hope you the audience can see yourself in the shoes of the local entrepreneurs, be able to take constructive input and / or feedback from an outsider, how to start their company with the insights from the experienced mentors and prevent mistakes and make pivots towards success.

We want you to support the brave entrepreneurs who have agreed to participate when they were approached with the idea for this event.

Get your popcorn ready. It is going to be a show.

We have two new Annual Sponsors

William Mansfield – Social Haven –

Albert Steed – True IP Solutions –


A BIG Thank you to our sponsors who make these FREE events possible. Please support them !!!

Social Media Connections for NEW
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Why is Jim so bold in these statements?
I, Jim Roberts, am the founder of NEW and have worked in entrepreneur development for 19 years in North Carolina; in Charlotte, Asheville, Durham, and Wilmington. In the last six years, I have started the UNC Wilmington CIE as Founding Executive Director, restarted the Connect Conference from work in Asheville (now known as Cucalorus Connect), started NEW and the Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE) and led the expansion of Bunker Labs into Wilmington. Yes, I have proof of all of this.