Improving Business in the Wilmington Region


Nationally, some 42 percent of job creation in a given community comes via expansions and growth of companies already there, according to a 2011 report by the Brookings Institute. Since its founding in 1956, Wilmington Business Development has supported existing industry as a cornerstone for the region’s economic strategy.

Along with our product and infrastructure development programs and corporate recruitment activities, WBD’s support for existing industry is systematic, ongoing and results-oriented. Regular site visits and dialogue with facility managers and business owners enable WBD’s staff to connect employers with the resources they need to grow and flourish in our region. That engagement equips the organization with the knowledge it needs to help them. As with all its programs, WBD’s staff works with allies and partners in its outreach to existing industry in order to deploy expertise and assistance from local and state government offices, Cape Fear Community College, utilities, financial institutions, and other public and private resources.

Oftentimes, WBD’s existing industry program sharpens its recruitment efforts, informing the region’s cluster development and global outreach strategies. What more credible advocate could a region have than its own successful businesses?

And frequently the only thing that separates WBD’s recruitment program and existing industry efforts is time. That is currently the case with two of the region’s newest industrial residents: Acme Smoke Fish, which arrived in Pender County in 2013, and Vertex Rail, which launched operations in the City of Wilmington in 2014. Both companies are executing ambitious plans that require new physical assets, workforce resources, technical support, and contact with government and private allies. The WBD staff is in constant touch with officials of both companies, ensuring they get convenient access to the ingredients for their long-term success here.

In supporting our existing industries – just as in all of WBD’s work – relationships are key.