WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington has been selected as one of five communities across the state to take part in an economic development initiative called InnovateNC.
Led by NC State’s Institute for Emerging Issues, InnovateNC is a two-year project focused on working with five communities outside Charlotte and the Research Triangle to foster a creative, innovative environment similar to Research Triangle Park, the city says.
“We’re excited to work with some outstanding partners to learn and grow a unique economic development focus around marine and life sciences,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said in a news release. “This initiative will help us realize one of the Garner report‘s major recommendations by making Wilmington and the Carolina Coast a marine and biotech powerhouse.”
The city says it will work with the Institute for Emerging Issues and other partners to build a marine and life sciences economic cluster within the region. In addition, each city receives $250,000 in services to help support the initiative.
“We are going to be getting $250,000 basically worth of in-kind consulting credit to help us promote something that was critically important to us in this area for economic development,” New Hanover County Chief Communications Officer Ruth Ravitz Smith said.
“UNCW has many assets that we’ll be able to leverage through this grant, and we’re very excited about the opportunities this funding will provide,” said Ron Vetter, associate provost for research and dean of UNCW’s graduate school.
The team receiving the grant includes the city, New Hanover County, UNCW, the Town of Leland, Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation, Brunswick County NC Biotech Center SE Office, Brunswick Community College and other partners.
A total of 18 communities across the state applied for the program.