From gourmet pickles to potentially lifesaving paddleboards, there are no shortage of innovative ideas coming out of southeastern North Carolina.
In the second year of our MADE competition, the winners covered a wide range of products being conceived and produced in the local market.
The Greater Wilmington Business Journal launched the MADE awards last year to spotlight makers, manufacturers, artisans, designers, small businesses and the entities that support them in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.
Nominations ranging from conceptual and early stage to actual in-market product were welcome to be submitted.
“Our region is a prime spot for entrepreneurs to test products and gain an initial footing in their respective marketplaces. The MADE competition aims to give small businesses that extra boost in exposure to ideally help launch them into other, larger markets,” said Nina Bays Cournoyer, art director of the Business Journal, who came up with the idea to start the MADE competition.
A manufacturing category also looks to call attention to the products that are mass-produced in the region.
Nominations poured in from businesses vying in five categories: Manufacturing, Functional Product (examples include tools, gadgets, beauty products, furniture and industrial/medical devices), Arts (such as apparel, accessories, textiles, home goods and stationery), Food & Beverage (such as wine and spirits, dry/baked/canned goods and sustainable foods) and Supporter (examples include patent law firms, manufacturing associations, SBA lenders and retail markets that carry primarily local products).
A panel of outside judges combed through the nominations and were asked to base their choices for winners on several factors, including:
- Does the business have unique offerings in its market?
- Which companies are likely to grow sales the most, particularly in other parts of the country and/or internationally?
- Is the continued growth of the company likely to result in the creation of more jobs in our region and a positive impact on local economic development?
- and for the Supporter category: Which organization is best equipped to help businesses that make products expand quickly, resulting in more jobs locally and other positive impacts on local economic development?
In the end, the judges chose three top winners for the Manufacturing, Functional Product, Food & Beverage and Arts categories and one overall for the Supporter designation.
The winners will each have a table at this year’s WilmingtonBiz Conference & Expo
, which is also produced by the Business Journal, on March 30 at the Wilmington Convention Center.
With roots in an economy originally built on tobacco, textiles and furniture, North Carolina is no stranger to the making of things.
While its industries may have broadened over the years, the focus on locally made goods continues to hold strong. MADE was created to spotlight some of the innovations occurring in design and manufacturing originating in area.
Congratulations to this year’s winners who are doing just that.
To see the winners for the Functional Product Category
, click here.
To see the winners for the Food and Beverage Category, click here.
To see the winners for the Arts Category, click here.
To see the winners for the Manufacturing Category, click here.
To see the winners for the Supporter Business Category, click here.
JUDGING THE APPLICANTS
The MADE award’s goal is to recognize products made in southeastern North Carolina.
Any company with an operation in New Hanover, Brunswick or Pender counties was eligible. Their product could be in production or in the prototype stage.
After the nomination period, a panel of outside judges reviewed the submissions and picked the winners.
In picking the winners, judges were asked to weigh whether the nominated businesses had unique offerings in its market; which were likely to grow sales the most, particularly in other parts of the country and/or internationally; and if continued growth would likely result in the creation of more jobs in the region and impact local economic development.
For the Supporter category, judges considered what nominated organization was best equipped to help businesses that make products expand quickly.
Dean, UNCW’s Cameron School of Business
Director, CFCC’s Small Business Center
Former Retail Director, Farmin’ Brands
Director, UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Owner, Art in Bloom Gallery
Co-owner, Marpac and 2016 MADE winner