Sound Off: Time To Form Stronger Ties

By Merrette Moore, posted May 4, 2018
Merrette Moore
For anyone looking from the outside in, the world of entrepreneurship seems to be a whole lot about fun and success.

TV shows and movies such as Silicon Valley, Shark Tank and The Social Network give off the vibe that the world of startups and venture capital is just, well, really cool.

Entrepreneurs who have reached the top of the business mountain – people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos – are practically treated as royalty, their stories serving as American mythology.
This mythology has elicited a yearning among local and regional business communities to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that fosters success.
As hard as it is for me to believe, I have lived in the entrepreneurial world for nearly 20 years now. Most of that time has been spent in the Triangle and I have seen a lot of what doesn’t work in growing an entrepreneurial community, but fortunately, some of what does. Here are some things I think Wilmington can and should do:

Wilmington is a transient community, with lots of capable, interesting people moving here every day. These folks have a lot to offer, particularly in terms of new ideas, relationships and skill sets that are invaluable in building an entrepreneurial community. These people should be welcomed, embraced and integrated into the local scene.
Since I moved to Wilmington nearly three years ago, I have been bemused – and disappointed – to realize that the entrepreneurial community is compartmentalized into a network of fiefdoms. There is a disconnected, almost competitive dynamic where cooperation and collaboration with other local, like-minded organizations are discouraged.
This sort of mentality inhibits entrepreneurship and definitely is a community killer.
The entrepreneurial players in Wilmington need to be better – and more meaningfully – connected. There should be tangible, even formal, partnerships between entrepreneurial players and organizations.
As antithetical as it may sound, corporate entities and leaders are crucial to helping build an entrepreneurial community. These are the people and organizations who can offer the personnel, expertise, connections, capital as well as other resources that early-stage ventures need. I applaud the assistance that local corporate players such as PPD, Live Oak Bank and CastleBranch have provided. But even more is needed.
I strongly feel, by the way, this responsibility extends to prominent non-corporate entities like UNCW and NHRMC. While I can appreciate the multitude of entrepreneurial-related programs that UNCW has initiated and sponsored, their efforts seem to be unfocused and devoid of tangible metrics to measure success. As for NHRMC, I have been unimpressed with their innovation-based programs and activities. Both organizations clearly have work to do.

When I moved to Wilmington, I had little intention of doing business here as I came for the beach and the water. I have been pleasantly surprised with the business-related resources and potential down here, particularly for the entrepreneurial community. I am highly confident that this community will become increasingly vibrant over time. But there is a lot of work to do. I pledge to do my part and encourage you to do yours.
Merrette Moore is the founder and managing partner of Tidewater Equity Partners and Radian Healthcare Innovations.
Ico insights


Jeff metrocopy

Public Adjusters are Your Advocates After the Storm

Jeffrey Feldstein - Metro Public Adjustment
Jim ellis headshot 10311631058

Video (High) Resolutions for 2019

Jim Ellis - Signal
Infinity 891835159

What is EMV and Am I Liable?

Kyle Thorpe - Infinity Payment Systems

Trending News

Pier 33 Apartments To Start Construction In February

Johanna Cano - Jan 16, 2019

State Eyes $31M For Cape Fear Crossing In New Draft Plan

Christina Haley O'Neal - Jan 16, 2019

Marsello’s To Offer Casual Italian Dining On The Riverfront

Jessica Maurer - Jan 16, 2019

Serpentarium Building Could Shed Its Past, Become Dental Spa

Cece Nunn - Jan 17, 2019

Phun Pop-up Dinners Kick Off Countdown To Food Hall Opening

Jessica Maurer - Jan 16, 2019

In The Current Issue

New Year Brings Cape Fear Museum Changes

The Cape Fear Museum of History and Science is readying new reveals in the new year. Among them, a unique mobile program that’s expected to...

Shedding Light On The Affordability Gap

With home prices and rents on the rise in the Cape Fear region and wages not keeping up, the affordable housing issue is expected to remain...

A Taste Of Family, For 25 Years

Chris Guarino opened A Taste of Italy on South College Road in 1994 with his brother Tommy. Today, Tommy is mostly retired, and Guarino and...

Book On Business

The 2018 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



Health Care Heroes 2018
2018 WilmingtonBiz Expo - Keynote Lunch with Eric Dinenberg, Rouse Properties