3 Ways Wilmington Behaves Entrepreneurially

An inspiring article was published earlier this year in Inc. Magazine. It was written by Matt Erlichman, the founder of Angie’s List competitor Porch, and it posited five ways to define the Entrepreneurial Spirit.

We’ve been thinking a lot about the spirit that embodies Wilmington, and we’re sensing a growing entrepreneurial spirit here. It’s ramified in so many of our entrepreneurial businesses, from WaterPlayUSA to DocsInk and NextGlass. But it’s also embodied in our small business owners and some of our brightest thought leaders.

Here are 3 ways that spirit is demonstrated:

  • Find Ways to Improve. Erlichman points to a desire to improve on something, to question how it can be done better as an entrepreneurial trait. He says that the average person rarely considers how ordinary things can be made better, but those with the entrepreneurial spirit can’t help themselves. They are continually questioning why things are done the way they are and aren’t afraid to go against the majority to make changes.

We see this every day. Ideas are floated over breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner – and late into the night. Everyday people are writing to the paper, showing up at City Council meetings, chiming in on proposed changes.

TIP: Need to improve? Go chat with some of the people at CIE: on any given day you will find a room full of people who are “doing (fill in the blank) better.”

  • Glass Half Full. Optimism is another sign of the entrepreneurial spirit. For demonstration of how that is played out in Wilmington, look at all the support systems we have put in place in the past 3 years: UNCW’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Castle Branch’s TekMountain, Elite Innovations’s Makerspace, and CloudWyze’s new downtown facility that we’re calling These are capital intensive projects that would not be completed without the “CAN DO” spirit that mostly comes from within our business community.

Listen closely during all those networking events and you may notice that people seem to be talking less about how something ‘can’t get done,’ and instead ask, “Why not?” Whenever the odds of success are against you, surround yourself with optimistic people who say Why Not, and you’re more likely to actually accomplish some of your goals.

TIP: Need to look up? Climb TekMountain and learn how your ideas for education related technologies can take root – there’s a boat-load of optimism up there!

  • EXECUTE! Things are happening here. Businesses aren’t waiting for someone to pave the way for them- the horns have been taken and the bull has been wrestled. Just look at what can happen when the beer industry gets inspired—Wilmington gets more spirited! Or look at the construction on the north end of downtown, or the commercial expansion around Mayfaire.

    Need to get-‘er-done? When you’re ready to take action on something and make that prototype of “better,” head over to the Maker Space at Elite Innovations.

If you think you may have captured some of this entrepreneurial spirit yourself, there are plenty of ways you can explore it further. If you want to be surrounded with other like-minded, spirit-filled people, think about taking an office at the new CloudWyze-powered Ignition offices. We’ll be opening in a month or so, and would love to see what parts of your entrepreneurial spirit this inspiring place can uplift.

But whatever you do: don’t keep it to yourself. Ideas don’t grow until they’re shared!