Uniquely positioned as both a marine science and a biotechnology center, North Carolina (NC) aims to become a 21st century worldwide hub for marine biotechnology. 

Governor Pat McCrory has an innovative idea for the Port City. He wants Wilmington to become the Silicon Valley of the Southeast. And North Carolina’s InnovateSENC is helping to make it happen. Together, along with a variety of professionals, educators, businesses, and economic development organizations throughout the Carolina Coast, are collaborating to cultivate and promote Wilmington as a business epicenter. The goal is to accelerate small business growth, and cultivate new jobs and opportunities. 

Wilmington: A Marine Science Hub

In a recent report, North Carolina was designated as one of the top science industry state in the nation.  Therefore, InnovateSENC is focusing on turning Wilmington into a Marine and Life Sciences hub that will include establishing talented professionals, skilled workers, business development and financial capital. The program offers multi-year learning opportunities throughout North Carolina including Asheville, Greensboro, Pembroke, and Wilson along with Wilmington.
One such Wilmington-based marine science organization is Charlotte-based SAROS, (Swell Actuated Reverse Osmosis System) that expanded into Wilmington in 2016. The technology operates a sustainable desalination system that is powered by ocean waves and uses no fossil fuels or electricity to produce freshwater from seawater with minimal environmental impact. SAROS provides solutions for coastal communities that experience water shortages and other issues with infrastructure. 

MARBIONC (Marine Biology in North Carolina) is another organization promoting marine science in the state. MarbioNC is based at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s CREST Research Park and is working to create and market innovative new products that use marine life and technology. 

Potential Industries for Wilmington

Aquaculture and Seafood. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing sector of animal food production across the globe (steady 8-10% CAGR). North Carolina has the potential to take a leadership role in developing new businesses and innovations for the aquaculture industry such as aqua-animal health, broodstock genetics and new production technology. 

BioMarine Brand Development. Marketing work for the marine sciences industry can include exhibitor shows, speakers, conferences, websites, media advertising, social marketing, and communication tools such as newsletters and mobile technologies.

Genomics. Genomics is a fundamental research tool used throughout biodefense research and product development for genomics in marine and non-marine sectors. 

Wilmington is the perfect location for the many marine science innovations. The Port City was named “Best American Riverfront” in USA TODAY’s “10 Best” contest, and was also ranked in WalletHub’s “Cities with the Fastest Growing Economies.”  Wilmington, with its Riverwalk that offers more than 200 locally owned boutiques, cafes and nightlife venues, is also the winner of the 10Best.com “Best Al Fresco Dining Neighborhood” poll. 



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