Biotechnology Marketing Tool Launched to Market Region


North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Economic Development Partnership (NCSE) has implemented a new marketing tool to attract companies to the southeast region that are in the biorenewable and biotechnology industry sector. NCSE completed the project through funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Research Development grant program.

A component of NCSE’s mission is to build marketing strategies for advancing regional economic growth using key regional assets. “Southeastern North Carolina has an abundance of raw materials and natural resources that are attractive to companies related to the biorenewable/biotechnology sector,” says Jane Smith, Chairman of the NCSE board. Examples of resources are swine lagoons, waste spray fields, the multitude agricultural products grown in the region, food and beverage facilities, forests and timber, and landfills.

This industry sector includes companies related to bioenergy/biofuels, bioplastics, biotextiles, and other biomaterials for advanced manufacturing.

“This project has created a unique tool for identifying, mapping, and linking biorenewable to existing and prospective companies through NCSE’s regional marketing program,” says John Swope, Executive Director of the Sampson County Economic Development Commission. “Economic development is very competitive, so we want to leverage every strength we have to recruit new businesses and to assist existing ones.”

The project identified and catalogued the region’s biorenewable assets; created an interactive GIS application for using the data; analyzed assets to determine which industry sectors are most closely aligned with the assets; and, developed marketing strategies to grow jobs and investment in the target sectors. For example, a company that may want to convert waste to energy could identify and map these resources within a certain radius of a targeted location.

“As part of this analysis, NCSE’s project team identified and collected data on over 8,000 companies that create biomass raw materials, potentially consume them, or are part of the supply chain,” says Steve Yost, President of NC’s Southeast. “Because of these assets in the region, the biorenewable sector has the potential to create economic growth here with new jobs and private investment.”

NC Southeast partnered with the NC Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office to conceptualize, design, and implement the GIS tool.  Randall Johnson, executive director of the NCBiotech Southeastern Office states, “The visual representation of geographic clusters of biorenewable resources offered by this GIS tool is already opening up new opportunities to enhance existing businesses, recruit new industrial biotech companies, and foster entrepreneurial ventures in the region. The tool is invaluable for illustrating to company leaders the benefits of locating in southeastern North Carolina.”

The project was funded by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the Southeastern Partnership II, a 501c3 organization associated with North Carolina’s Southeast.

For additional information on the project, and to view the full report, please go to

Since 1996,  North Carolina’s Southeast has worked to facilitate the arrival of 115 new companies to Southeastern North Carolina, along with 9,200 new jobs and $1.2 billion in capital investment.

NCSE’s mission is to: Provide strong economic development leadership in southeastern North Carolina through innovative marketing and collaborative regional initiatives that will create new jobs, generate capital investment, and secure new business locations.

The Southeast region consists of the following counties: Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Montgomery, New Hanover, Pender, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, and Scotland.

NCBiotech is a private, non-profit corporation supported by the NC General Assembly. Its mission is to provide long-term economic and societal benefits to North Carolina by supporting biotechnology research, business, education and strategic policy statewide.


Steve Yost, Director
North Carolina’s Southeast
910-862-8511 x 22