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Grants provide Brunswick County a new business creation program

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By Brian Slattery

LELAND — A newly established business incubator based at the Brunswick Community College campus in Leland already has its first tenant.

During the announcement about the incubator Monday, Sept. 16, Brunswick County Economic Development Director Jim Bradshaw introduced Scott Crump, owner of Arcade MFG, a surf accessories manufacturer who is starting a new business to manufacture surfboard fins called rtmlite USA.

Crump and his wife Tia, relocated to the area to open the new business with local businessmen Matt and Todd Martin.

Scott Crump said the products they will make are typically made in China, but difficulties with supplies and quality convinced him they could bring manufacturing back to the United States.

“We can do better. We plan to have 15 (employees) by the end of the year. We will use the training here so employees learn to do the job properly,” he said.

The new incubator not only provides training for employees, but also offers businesses help with the startup process by providing a low-rent location, office equipment and support.

BCC president Dr. Susanne Adams said the workforce training center has hosted a business incubator for several years, but only one business could be helped at a time and only during school hours. And working with a single small business takes up space in the building that is increasingly needed for college class space.

The new project will allow for expansion of the Leland facility. A 2,800-square-foot existing shop will be renovated for business startup use and a 2,100-square-foot building will be added to the campus. The new building will be designed so that it can be doubled in size when future expansion is required.

“(We) will have enough space to accommodate three to four businesses at a given time,” Adams said. “Tenants will have private access to facilities a well as the flexibility to set hours most conducive to maximum personal production.”

Adams said the goal of the business incubator is to graduate businesses from the program within three years while creating up to 20 jobs.

Adams said the incubator will partner with BCC’s Small Business Center, the Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE), the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Entrepreneurship Center, the Small Business Technology Development Center (SBTDC) and the county’s four chambers of commerce to assist the startup businesses.

Congressman Mike McIntyre attended the announcement and presented an oversized check to Adams, but the $200,000 grant from the federal Economic Development Association it represented was a huge factor in covering the cost of the program.

Brunswick County received a $200,000 grant from Golden LEAF Foundation, which requires 50 percent matching funds from the county. The grant from the EDA covered that cost for the county.

McIntyre said he remembered attending the opening of the Leland workforce development center and the incubator is a new chapter for Brunswick County. The partnership between federal, state and local economic development supporters will bring new skills to the county, which will open opportunities and sends a message of the importance of job creation in Brunswick County.

“Today is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” McIntyre said. “When folks don’t worry about who gets the credit or the blame, the team can get the ball across the goal line.”

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.