Economic developers and local government leaders from Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties are working with officials of The Southeastern Partnership to forge a marketing brand designed to draw new jobs, companies and economic investment to the area. The Wilmington Regional Marketing Initiative, a micro-region of the larger North Carolina’s Southeast region, will enhance the promotional work and global corporate outreach efforts of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission and Wilmington Business Development, a membership-driven organization that oversees economic development for the City of Wilmington and New Hanover and Pender counties.
“This micro-region has a distinctive array of economic and business assets that make them a unique and very appealing part of the Southeast Region,” said Steve Yost, president of The Southeastern Partnership. Advantages that are unique to the area include the Port of Wilmington, UNC Wilmington, a fast-growing and well-educated population, Wilmington International Airport and Cape Fear Regional Jetport, a committed community of business leaders, and enviable lifestyle resources centering on year-round coastal recreational amenities. “It is the most globally connected corner of Southeastern North Carolina, and its economy is a reflection of that,” said Yost.
Growing businesses, especially those with global markets, are not concerned about wherecounty linesbegin and end, seeking instead convenient proximity to the physical assets and human resources needed to drive their expansion strategies. “Company executives don’t know or care where city limits and county lines are,” said Scott Satterfield, CEO of Wilmington Business Development. “They look for the transportation systems, the utility infrastructure and the talent they need to succeed.”
Given the presence of urban, suburban and rural communities within the Wilmington Region, there is a broad array of industry clusters that should find the marketing message compelling. Value-added food and beverage processors – including craft breweries – are among the region’s targets. So too are companies in aerospace and aviation manufacturing, assembly and maintenance. The three organizations also will work together in reaching out to firms in precision manufacturing, metal fabrication technology, marine sciences and industrial biotechnology.
“Ideally, we want to highlight the unique but complementary assets that make the Wilmington region stand-out not just as a Southeastern North Carolina destination, but an international destination,” says Jim Bradshaw, director of the Brunswick County Economic Development Commission. “By marketing ourselves as a package, we can be bothbolderin our global presence and more focused in our sector targeting,” Bradshaw said.
Statistically, bringing the three counties together enables a more compelling story for the Wilmington Region. By working together, the three organizations can also leverage marketing resources, sharing costs of printed promotional materials, consultant missions, trade show participation and other initiatives. “Being seen at the global level is expensive, and it’s only the cities like Atlanta and Charlotte that can afford to marketing internationally on their own,” Satterfield said. “Regional collaboration allows us to take our marketing up a notch in a way that is both efficient and effective.”
The Southeastern Partnership’s Yost says his organization ultimately plans to market other “micro-regions” in the Southeast. The Partnership now serves 13 counties from the Atlantic Oceans to the Uwharrie Mountains. Its mission is to “provide strong economicdevelopment leadershipin southeastern North Carolina through innovative marketing and collaborative regional initiatives that will support the creation of new jobs, generate capital investment, and secure new business locations.”
For additional information, visit www.ncse.org or contact
Steve Yost, President
910-862-8511 ext. 22