Brunswick Community College Announces New Incubator and EDC Announces First Incubator Tenant

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Brunswick Community College issued a double-barreled economic development announcement at a news conference Monday.

The news conference, held at BCC's Leland campus and headlined by U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.-7), detailed the launch of BCC’s small business incubator, to be built at the college’s Leland workforce development center. McIntyre made official the $400,000 grant that will fund the new facility: $200,000 will come from the N.C. Golden Leaf Foundation; the other $200,000 through the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The Golden Leaf Foundation awards grants to nonprofits and governmental entities across North Carolina, focusing on three priorities: agriculture, job creation and retention, and workforce preparedness, according to the foundation’s website.

On the heels of that announcement, officials disclosed that the incubator already has its first tenant. Jim Bradshaw, executive director of Brunswick County Economic Development, said that Rtmlite USA, a new company that will manufacture and distribute surfboard fins, will move into the new facility in the very near future.

Currently, the Leland campus of BCC can accommodate one start-up business, but because a tenant business is housed within the workforce training building, it is limited in terms of its size, activity and hours of operation.

The new small business incubator will consist of 2,800 square feet of renovated space at a corner of the existing campus building – an area with its own entrance – and an adjoining 2,100 square feet of new space in a prefab structure.

BCC president Susanne Adams said that the college’s partners in the incubator initiative are its Small Business Center, SCORE, University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), the UNCW- affiliated Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the region’s four chambers of commerce.

According to Adams, the new incubator – which should be completed by next summer – will house three or four startup ventures.

“The goal will be for each business to create up to 20 jobs each and graduate from the incubator in three years,” she said.

Scott Crump, founder of Rtmlite USA, said that he already has a core of four people helping him launch his company, which is an offshoot of a surfboard company in southern California. The new business will move into the renovated space at BCC-Leland in two to three weeks, Crump said, and will begin hiring additional people at that time.

“We hope to have 15 employees by the end of the year and outgrow the incubator in two years,” he added.

Rtmlite USA will work with the community college’s workforce development team to train its new employees for what Crump termed a “medium-tech” enterprise that uses a resin transfer molding (RTM) process to make surfboard fins, which Crump said need to be replaced fairly often, llike replacing a car's tires.

Currently, almost all surfboard fins are made in China, causing problems with product quality and supply, Crump said.

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