Why A National Docuseries Decided To Feature Local Entrepreneurs

By Johanna Cano, posted May 24, 2021
With the recent announcement that season nine of the TV show START UP will start filming in Wilmington in June, details are emerging on why the show's makers decided to visit the region.

A local advocate for Wilmington entrepreneurs influenced the decision to feature local startups in the national docuseries, said producer and casting director Jenny Feterovich.

Jim Roberts, founder of Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington and Wilmington Angels for Local Entrepreneurs, had been writing show producers for over two years asking them to visit Wilmington.

“Honestly Wilmington wasn’t on our radar until Jim started writing to us and advocating for us to come to the region,” Feterovich said. “He sent me articles on various things that were happening. We were planning a visit last year before the pandemic hit. We stayed in touch and now we are very excited and looking forward to coming to Wilmington. The amount of great stories is just incredible.”

Wilmington is always in the shadow of places like Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte, said Roberts.

"We have to grow our own companies by supporting local entrepreneurs," Roberts said. "What better way to do that than to help these local entrepreneurs find some nationwide clients?" 

Among the stories the show will feature include four Wilmington startups: Sea Love Sea Salt Co., TRU Colors Brewery, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee and Genesis Block.

Feterovich said the decision-making process for choosing the startups to be on the show included interviews with potential candidates, all of whom were suggested by Roberts.

START UP is an Emmy award-nominated docuseries that highlights the struggles and victories of entrepreneurs across the U.S., according to a press release.

“In season nine, creator and host Gary Bredow sits down with a wide range of diverse business owners along America’s Southeast Coast to better understand how they’ve learned to adapt, innovate and even completely reinvent themselves amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the last two years,” the release stated.

Season nine will feature 13 businesses. Other regions covered in the season include Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.

“I believe that 2021 is about revival. Businesses are starting to adapt in ways we’ve never seen before. In a lot of respects, they’re right sizing and making their businesses more durable in an effort to withstand these extreme challenges,” Bredow said in the release.

One goal of featuring the region in START UP is to show that coastal entrepreneurs can be innovative and think beyond tourism and seasonal-based service jobs, Roberts said in the release.

Because the series is shown in over 96% of the country – it's distributed nationally to more than 350 PBS stations, the Create TV Network and World Channel – the featured entrepreneurs get a lot of publicity, Feterovich said.

“Our viewership is around 5 to 6 million per season. When the show airs, the small business owners can definitely be affected in different ways from spikes in sales to tremendous amounts of email and visits to show the support for the business,” Feterovich said. “Basically, [the impact] can be anywhere from an increase in sales to tremendous amount of exposure for the business.” 

The show is slated to air in the fall of 2021.

"I am a fan of the show and I am always looking for ways to promote our members and the growth of our ecosystem on a regional and national basis," Roberts said. "The only way to scale is to find new clients from outside the county and state lines." 
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