Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Entrepreneurs to "Speed Date" with Business Leaders/Investors

Emerging startup companies and entrepreneurs in Southeastern North Carolina will pitch their business ideas to business leaders and investors speed-dating style at the University of North Carolina Wilmington on Oct. 28. The event takes place at 5:30 p.m. in the Madeline Suite.

Local cutting-edge technology companies and innovative products will be highlighted as participants compete to “sell” their companies and growth strategies in less than five minutes. This Rocket Pitch event is designed to be a networking opportunity for more than 75 area entrepreneurs, business leaders and investors who may be struggling for resources during the recession. It comes just two weeks after Fortune Small Business Magazine and CNN Money online ranked Wilmington 14th on their list of the best midsized cities in the U.S. for launching a start-up business.

The UNCW Entrepreneurship Center -- which aims to be a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth in Southeastern N.C. by bringing together emerging and high-growth ventures, entrepreneurs and relevant support organizations to create business growth, jobs and innovation -- is hosting the event. For more information on this event, visit www.uncwec.org.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wilmington Ranks #14 for Small Business Start Ups

Recognizing Wilmington's entrepreneurial spirit, Fortune Small Business Magazine has ranked Wilmington number 14 of the best midsize cities to launch a start-up business. The article in the November 2009 issue notes that there aren't a great deal of large employers in the area, which adds to the entrepreneurial air.

“In Wilmington, if you can’t find a job, you create one,” the article states.

Cape Fear Future was noted as a progressive program as well, citing the Wilmington 2.0 campaign as the city’s new project to foster technology-focused business.

The rate of small business growth in the area has been impressive: a 12.8 percent rate between 2004 and 2007, according to the article.

Read the entire article on the CNN Money website:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What Should Wilmington's Brand Be?

Inspired by Cape Fear Future, the Greater Wilmington Business Journal's latest Power Breakfast, held on Tuesday, September 22, tackled the subject of Wilmington's brand. Journal Publisher and CFF Leadership Team member Rob Kaiser asked the audience to think about the image that came to mind when he mentioned several cities, including Savannah, Charleston, Raleigh, and New York. Each has a clear brand that is readily identifiable, but what about Wilmington and the Cape Fear area?

The five panelists who debated the issue included Melanie Cook of Coastal Carolina Tomorrow; Tom Looney, Cape Fear Future's entrepreneur in residence; Jeff Morvil, president of Morvil Advertising and Design; Chad Paul, managing partner of Harbor Island Partners and Rick Randall, CEO of Trans1 Inc. Learn more about their thoughts on Wilmington's brand by reading the Journal's follow-up coverage: "Wilmington Brand Debated at Breakfast Event"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Report Shows How Employers Can Impact STEM Education

NC Magazine has reported that the US Chamber's Institute for a Competitive Workforce is supporting a new study that outlines what employers can do to improve the way science, technology, engineering and math are taught. STEM is a Cape Fear Future priority area.

The report, called “The Opportunity Equation: Transforming Mathematics and Science Education for Citizenship and the Global Economy” was conducted by the Carnegie-IAS Commission on Mathematics and Science Education. There are four general areas in which the report urges action:

1) Place mathematics and science at the center of education innovation, improvement and accountability to enable higher levels of learning.

2) Establish common standards and assessments for the nation in mathematics and science.

3) Improve math and science teaching, including new ways of recruiting teaching talent.

4) Redesign schools and systems to deliver excellent, equitable math and science learning.

Read the entire article in NC Magazine online.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Priority Areas

With more than forty potential projects outlined in the Cape Fear Future Cookbook, the Leadership Team had to decide which were the most doable, would have significant impact, and would be a good jumping off point for the initiative. After deliberation, three areas were defined (please note they are not in a ranked order):

Image Enhancement: help create and communicate an image for the Cape Fear Region that will attract and retain knowledge sector workers;

Entrepreneurship: grow and promote entrepreneurship;

STEM Education: emphasize the importance of educational opportunities and excellence in schools, as well as recruit students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Each of the priority areas are instrumental in creating an environment that will attract and retain knowledge workers in order to promote sustained economic growth and greater prosperity for the region. Many additional areas of focus have been defined through community input and the work of the consulting group Catalytix, which will be addressed as the process moves forward.

By working toward these enhancements to the region, CFF will help ensure that businesses in the region have skilled workers as the Baby Boomers retire and the younger demographic shrinks, and that the region will be a magnet for knowledge-based businesses.

"Champions" for the various initiatives will help ensure that the individual projects are completed, and will include CFF supporters such as the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, UNCW, CFCC, NHRMC, Progress Energy, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, PPD, Coty, and more.