MSA: Wilmington, NC
Best places ranking: #14 among midsize metro areas
Wilmington has evolved considerably over the last three decades. In the 1980s, Wilmington became connected to I-40, a major east-west interstate. The local film industry began to grow with the construction of EUE/Screen Gems Studios, the largest television and movie production facility east of California and home to the television show One Tree Hill. Wilmington is also home to pharmaceutical research organization PPD and General Electric Nuclear Energy.
Still, Wilmington remains a city with few large employers, creating an entrepreneur-led economy. In Wilmington, if you can't find a job, you create one.
Throughout the historic downtown, art galleries and businesses catering to the film and substantial tourist and "summer home" communities line the streets. City officials are working to foster technology-centric businesses through a project called Wilmington 2.0.
Southern hospitality is alive and well in Wilmington, which local business owners call a warm and welcoming community. But for many entrepreneurs, the biggest incentive for moving to the Port City is the beaches -- although some business owners admit they hold their breath during hurricane season. -Christina Crapanzano
Resources for getting started in Wilmington, NC
Local startup resources
Wilmington Business Statistics
"Within the Wilmington arts community, we are cordial and have an unspoken agreement to not step on each other's toes with our products. " -Star Sosa