On September 17th, Mayor Purzycki and the City Council announced a partnership with the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation and Wilmington Alliance to participate in the National League of Cities City Innovation Ecosystems Program to help support small businesses citywide and to develop a system that levels the playing field for access to resources.
The City Innovation Ecosystems program asks city leaders to commit one year to create the right policies, programs, and practices to ensure their communities can thrive in the global, innovation-driven economy. Wilmington has selected “Bringing informal entrepreneurs into the formal economy and providing them with the resources to grow their business” as the yearlong project focus. Entrepreneurs come from every background and are growing businesses in every industry. While they all have the potential to succeed, many do not have access to the resources or support they need.
Wilmington Alliance and the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation will lead the project through the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Wilmington (E3, Wilmington). E3 Wilmington’s mission is to build a citywide strategic coalition of partners designed to identify, vet, incubate and accelerate the launch of new businesses, with a targeted focus on Black and Brown entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs will receive a comprehensive needs assessment and will receive a customized acceleration plan with coaching and guidance in business planning, marketing, and promotion, technology infrastructure as well as optimizing space planning. Finally, when appropriate, the E3 ecosystem partners will help increase access to funding opportunities.
The program year will include technical assistance from nationally recognized program experts, quarterly peer-learning conference calls with other commitment-making cities, quarterly webinars on innovation and entrepreneurship topics, as well as opportunities for public recognition of the work Wilmington is doing.