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UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship launches “All Blue”

The goal is to draw businesses that address challenges face by marine and coastal environments
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 11:08 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - UNC Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship launched a partnership between the community and the college called the Alliance for the Blue Economy, or “All Blue” this week.

The goal of this partnership is to establish southeastern North Carolina as a leader in the blue economy.

The blue economy is a way to capitalize on the natural assets of the region — particularly the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River — to attract businesses and entrepreneurs from five different sectors: marine robotics and ocean engineering; sustainable aquacultures and fisheries; marine biotechnology; tourism, recreation and hospitality; and coastal conservation and resilience.

This partnership effort is being championed by leaders with knowledge in business and science from the region and from UNCW. The alliance will seek federal, state and regional grants from governmental agencies, educational institutions, nonprofits, and private sector partners to fulfill its vision.

In a news release from UNCW, former Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Director Diane Durance said the United Nations had declared the next decade as one where critical challenges faced by marine and coastal environments will be spotlighted globally.

“Federal and state support for programs and infrastructure to promote innovation and new ventures in the Blue Economy has never been stronger,” said Durance. “This is a pivotal moment — and one we want to capture for North Carolina.”

Southeastern North Carolina is an ideal location for a blue economy hub because of its plentiful coastal resources and growing business industries.

“The greatest economic opportunity for Wilmington is literally on its front door. And yet, you know it’s not something people usually think about,” says the Chair of Cape Fear Ocean Labs Glenn Anderson. “You know, we’ll take the cruise, we’ll go deep sea fishing, something like that. And yet, there’s a whole world of opportunity behind the horizon. Literally.”

The Alliance for the Blue Economy has several events planned around the community for “All Blue Week” taking place November 1-6 to make its debut.

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