Wilmington joins national program aimed at accelerating growth of young businesses


Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and City Council President Hanifa Shabazz announced a partnership with the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation, and Wilmington Alliance to participate in the National League of Cities (NLC) City Innovation Ecosystems program.

The City Innovation Ecosystems program asks city leaders to commit one year to creating  policies, programs, and practices to ensure their communities can thrive in the global economy. I

In the program’s inaugural year, 50 cities ranging from rural townships, to college towns, to major metros and linked with over 200 local partners to deploy over $100 million in regional and national resources to support young business, leverage technology, and expand STEM education for everyone.

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, a release stated.

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 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 (virtual offices, co-working space, or dedicated offices). Finally, when appropriate, the E3 ecosystem partners will help increase access to funding opportunities.

“Our work at the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation has demonstrated that great ideas can come from anyone, regardless of background or economic means,” stated Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation Executive Director Stephen Sye. “However far too often we see that without critical supporting resources, connections and capital many entrepreneurs struggle to succeed. Our E3 program aims to provide the type of support that will allow the best ideas to flourish while leveling the playing field for entrepreneurs of color who often are unable to begin on equal footing as others. I’m excited that the City of Wilmington is elevating its commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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.

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