Improving Business in the Wilmington Region


In today’s free-flowing global economy, business leaders have little concern for city limits and county lines. Today’s executives care more about access to adequate transportation systems, reliable utilities and abundant talent in drawing conclusions about the quality of a business destination.

That’s why earlier this year Wilmington Business Development (WBD) joined with the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission and The Southeastern Partnership in launching the Wilmington Regional Marketing Initiative. The collaboration seeks to effectively and efficiently showcase regionally-oriented economic assets in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties.

“Greater Wilmington remains North Carolina’s gateway to the global marketplace, and our regional economy is a reflection of that,” said Scott Satterfield, president and CEO of Wilmington Business Development.

The array of communities in the Wilmington Region – from quiet farms and coastal towns to a densely populated downtown business district – comprise a welcoming backdrop for a number of modern industry clusters. Among those is value-added food and beverage processors – including craft breweries.

In April, the three organizations promoted the Wilmington Region at the Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Ore. The annual meeting of about 10,000 craft-brewing industry professionals was the ideal marketing opportunity for the region. “The craft brewers are a good example of the kind of industry that works well in any number of communities in our region,” explains Billy King, Director of Business Development at WBD, who worked the trade show. “It’s a rapidly growing industry that creates quality jobs and is a strong complement to our tourism, retail and entertainment industries.”

Consumption of craft beers in the U.S. is surging, and job creation at craft breweries also is growing at an impressive pace. In 2014, the industry employed more than 115,000 workers – nearly five percent higher than the prior year, according to the Brewers Association, the trade association that organizes BrewExpo America.

Other marketing targets for the Wilmington Region are aerospace and aviation manufacturing, precision manufacturing, metal fabrication technology, marine sciences and industrial biotechnology. The three partners are also jointly reaching out to leading site selection consultants, organizing a two-day “familiarization tour” of the region later this year.

Cross-county marketing and site-selector outreach were among the recommendations stemming from last year’s consultant report by Atlanta-based Garner Economics, which assessed Greater Wilmington’s job creation strategies.


TriCounty brewery