The Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the Coastal Entrepreneurial Council are now one.

Members of the CEC, which is based in Wilmington, approved merging with the much-larger RTP group on Wednesday night.

Under the agreement, the CED, which has more than 4,000 members, will create a CED-Coastal division. The coastal group will focus on economic development in Wilmington and along the Carolina coast.

“Over the last year, CEC has been exploring ways to generate greater value and increase the relative importance of entrepreneurship in Coastal Carolina. Through this merger with CED, we’re convinced that we’ve developed a strategy that more than fulfills our mission,” said Gene Haley, president of the CEC group. “CEC, now as CED-Coastal, will continue its local presence and flavor while significantly enhancing our value through the addition of CED’s programs and capabilities.”

The CEC, which was launched in 1995, had some 150 members. They become members of the CED effective July 31.

“This merger is an excellent fit in terms of the aligned missions, community synergies, and mutual opportunities for growth,” said CED President Monica Doss in a statement. “The merger offers CED members access to an excellent, high-potential emerging market in Coastal Carolina while providing CEC members and coastal entrepreneurs with easy access to CED’s strong programming and information resources.”

The two groups have been talking about merging for several months.

The CEC-Coastal group will be represented on both CED’s board and executive committee. It also will have its own local advisory group.