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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington is first of five “InnovateNC” cities across North Carolina that will host a cross-city learning collaborative convening this week.

InnovateNC is the first public-private technology initiative of its kind in the nation.

Representatives from the Wilmington and Carolina Coast Innovation Council are featuring area site tours, presentations, Q & As, and panel discussions focused on the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem able to support the community’s innovative marine biotechnology and life sciences initiatives on Monday and Tuesday.

Wilmington Innovation Co-chair Gary Vidmar said it is an intensive two-year cross-city learning collaborative that will aim to help Wilmington in its marine and biotech industries.

“We are trying to commercialize the research that’s getting done in this region,” Vidmar said. “There is world class research currently being done with universities and private organizations, but we’ve not been able to attract investment dollars and start up businesses to commercialize that and take advantage of that research.”

Featured locations for the two-day convening include MARBIONC, TekMountain, Ironclad Brewery, and Cape Fear and Brunswick Community Colleges. A variety of distinguished representatives from local governments, colleges and founders of private enterprises are scheduled to speak at each of these venues.

“We’re so excited to host the InnovateNC cross-city learning collaborative in Wilmington and the surrounding Carolina coast,” Mayor Bill Saffo said. “This is a great opportunity to showcase the region’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and highlight the variety of assets in place to develop a hub of innovation in marine biotechnology and life science that includes a diverse set of tech startups and makers.”

InnovateNC is an intensive two-year cross-city learning collaborative supporting five North Carolina communities as they expand their local innovation economies including: Asheville, Greensboro, Pembroke, Wilson, and Wilmington/Carolina Coast.

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