Cape Fear leaders take charge of future businesses
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News 14 Carolina - by Ashley White
WILMINGTON – A little over a year ago a group of business and government leaders came together to make a change. The Cape Fear Future Commission is working to promote economic prosperity by attracting new businesses and maintaining a professional workforce.
Kristen Beckmeyer and her business partner opened up Coastal Cupcakes three years ago. As UNC Wilmington graduates, the pair said they knew they wanted to stay in the area and be their own bosses.
"We started it was just the two of us. We opened and closed the store every day for the first nine months and have slowly added employees and progressed to adding a full-time employee and we will see where is goes from here," said Beckmeyer.
But all that success didn't come without a little guidance and support, organizations like the Cape Fear Future Commission provides mentors for new business owners.
"It has just really been priceless for us just to have that experience of an entrepreneur in town that someone can help on things that you just could not figure out any other way," said Beckmeyer.
More than 60 community leaders form Cape Fear Future and they are focusing on three task forces. The first is the Quality of Life Task Force, the second is the Entrepreneurship Action Team and the third is the Education Task Force.
Just recently, they did a lot of the behind the scenes leg work to get police officers downtown and it worked. Now they are hoping this helps with nightlife issues.
"I think more importantly is their ability to go into a bar at night when there are issues, and they don't have to be invited in. There are two policemen that can go in a bar," said Connie Majure-Rhett, Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
For the group, it's all about attracting new business and keeping people here.
"Make sure we have enough knowledge workers in this community to attract companies here and it will build a more prosperous community. Knowledge workers make more money, pay bigger taxes, things like that," said Majure-Rhett.
For people like Beckmeyer, it's worth that leap of faith to be successful.
"We wanted to be in Wilmington and jobs are hard to come by so we had to make our own," said Beckmeyer.
Cape Fear Future will meet again in June. At that meeting they will be giving an update on the three task forces and their progress. Leaders said the first year was about establishing themselves and educating the community on how they can help.