With momentum in Wilmington startup ecosystem, we are yelling from the lighthouses

We all know about the theories of one of my business role models Brad Feld (TechStars) and his book Startup Communities, where he talks about important role for entrepreneur support organizations. In Wilmington, my non profit organization , the Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (NEW) has gained momentum after celebrating our one year anniversary with the hope we can have a similar long term impact as CED has had in Durham / Raleigh.

Our June 23rd event now has 160 people registered with one week to go. (Our largest event was our last event on Life Sciences industry in May with 170 people registered) http://wraltechwire.com/wilmington-s-impressive-biotech-life-science-entrepreneurial-potential/15724445/

The Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (NEW) has two new annual sponsors ,9 total, with the addition of our only publicly traded HQ with Live Oak Bank and also Wolfe Wealth Management in addition to local and regional professional service providers.

We are booked with great events through January including a VERY special event in October with an internationally recognized venture capital investor and July 14th with the CIO of Cloud for Oracle Software, Tom Fisher ,a North Carolina native.

We have had an exciting year with partnerships from the North Carolina Technology Association, our first winner of a NC IDEA startup grant, and stage time at the CED Life Sciences Conference when medical device startup Surgilum presented with rave reviews. One of our startups Petrics, was just one of five winners of a startup accelerator competition in Winston Salem. (Full disclosure, my Angel Investor network, WALE, is an investor in Petrics.)

Every week I hear from Wilmington natives who have previously moved out of the region / state to look for better career opportunities but are now curious if they can move back to the coast. And of course, UNC Wilmington graduates want to stay in the region to enjoy the quality of place.

Yep, we have heard the criticism that having big events, winning awards and great media coverage is not enough. How do you do the hard work of preparing the entrepreneurs to raise more capital from outside of the region and begin to scale so they can hire more people to have a real impact on the regional economy. That has proven hard to do given our bootstrap budget, but we are “efforting” for sure. We need to incorporate something like the Venture Mentoring Service , credited for success at CED and in Charleston, SC for getting more mentors ACTIVELY involved in the startup scene. We have generations of retired executives who have been actively involved in the business school but we need them to consider management roles or board seats in the startup scene.

The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce recently stated a need to build more businesses in Wilmington in the traded sector or how to sell things that can bring money into New Hanover County vs just circulating the same dollars within the region.

So we have created an event to get our startups to think BIGGER and to stretch into selling more regionally, nationally and internationally. Our next speakers Think and Do Bigger with ideas that local businesses can use but also open national and international opportunities for their companies.

We have confirmed the following high profile speakers for June 23rd event:

  • Jonathon Rowe , nCino , VP of Marketing – nCino listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 100 MOST PROMISING Companies in America and the only one on this impressive list from ALL of NORTH CAROLINA , http://www.forbes.com/companies/ncino/
  • Aaron Dinin , RocketBolt.com , Founder and Professor at Duke University – RocketBolt sends you important information about your sales prospects before your sales call to improve your chances about landing the business., http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthunckler/2015/07/22/rocketbolt-intelligent-lead-tracking-platform/#3824ecbe74ed
  • Ben Kinney, Business North Carolina Magazine, as our moderator.

We are fine with the fact we know you might want to attend our event next Thursday to make it a beach weekend and enjoy our new breweries like Ironclad Brewery and Waterline Brewery downtown. Or our new restaurants such as Beer Barrio, named best new restaurant with GREAT customer service, fresh guacamole and vegan offerings among awesome taco selections. (Hint here for past speaker Justin Miller.)

Please register here for our June 23rd event and to be made aware of our future events

Or you can follow us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Network-for-Entrepreneurs-in-Wilmington-100592556974172/

Jim R. Roberts is a professional connector that has started several entrepreneur support organizations in North Carolina. He is currently the founder of the Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington (NEW) and the Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs (WALE) in Wilmington, North Carolina. Twitter – RedSpireUSNC

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