WILMINGTON – Wilmington is continuing to develop as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurs, and it’s not going unnoticed.

UNC Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has teamed up with the Greater Wilmington Business Journal to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs in the Cape Fear region, and the category winners are in.

Among them:

The startups will be honored at an awards breakfast at UNCW’s Burney Center on Wednesday, May 22. However, only one will be crowned the 2019 Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year.

It’s the 23rd year running for the event, which is set to attract companies and nonprofits in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.

In recent years, the region has attracted national attention for its burgeoning startup community.

In March, Techstars, a global startup funding and mentorship network, held its first startup weekend in Wilmington.

During the 54-hour program, more than 30 aspiring entrepreneurs pitched their best ideas and worked in teams to develop business plans for prizes that could set them on the path to success.

Heather McWhorter, head of sponsor SBTDC and a member of the organizing team, said she hopes to organize more. “This is a great way to build a community of entrepreneurs,” she was quoted as saying. “The transition from employee to entrepreneur is difficult. Events like this help people make the transition.”

Wilmington Techstars Weekend preps local startups for road to possible success