RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — The Council for Entrepreneurial development in RTP and the Coastal Entrepreneurial Council appear headed toward a merger.

“The deal is in the works although it has not been finalized yet,” a CED spokesman told Local Tech Wire. “We’re really excited about this.”

The merger is expected to be approved next week.

“I’m writing to tell you about an exciting opportunity that CED’s Board of Directors is exploring with the Wilmington-based Coastal Entrepreneurial Council (CEC), a longtime partner of CED,” wrote Monica Doss, head of the CED , in a recent email to its members. “Over the past several months, the CEC and CED boards have been evaluating a union to take advantage of the groups’ aligned missions, community synergies and mutual opportunities for growth.

“We’re excited about the potential for the combined organization to increase CED’s capacity to serve the education, capital, networking and advocacy needs of the region’s pipeline of innovators and growing entrepreneurial companies.”

According to Doss, the CEC is expected to vote to dissolve the CEC and to approve a merger with the larger group. The CEC, which was launched in 1995, has some 150 members. The CED has more than 4,000 members representing more than 1,100 companies. It was founded in 1984.

“This strong alliance will further promote CED’s overarching vision for North Carolina as the nation’s top entrepreneurial state,” Doss wrote in her email.

Doss and a CED spokesman said the combined group will open what they call a “divisional office” in Wilmington. It will be known as CED-Coastal.

Assuming the merger is approved, the CED and the Coastal group have already scheduled an entrepreneurial skills and angel investing workshop for Nov. 10-11 in Wilmington.

Gene Haley of Wilmington Pharmaceuticals is president of the coastal group’s executive committee.

Doss told CED members that the combined group will feature:

  • “New educational programming
  • “New publication content
  • “Access to additional networks, markets and industry sectors
  • “An expanded platform for statewide advocacy on issues of importance to high impact entrepreneurs”
  • The CED provided a “FAQ”, or frequently asked questions, outlining the benefits of a combined group.

    The CED staff in RTP will run the organization under the direction of its Board of Directors which will include CEC members. The CED-Coastal office will also retain a local advisory board, according to the FAQ.