Sunday, May 26, 2024

Statewide: Eastern region, October 2015

Casting for startups


Over 20 years, the Cucalorus Film Festival has kept Wilmington a player on the national filmmaking scene. Its organizers hope it will now become a destination for startup talent. For the first time, the independent film festival will include a business conference to show off the city’s tech and entrepreneurial savvy. Cucalorus Connect — scheduled for Nov. 10-15 — hopes to re-create some of the aura of events like Austin’s South By Southwest, which started as a music festival and now includes film and technology. When Cucalorus launched in the early 1990s, the event drew on Wilmington’s burgeoning interest in independent film. Last year, nearly 16,000 people attended the festival, which attracted entries from 74 countries. Dan Brawley, executive director, sees the same type of enthusiasm budding around startup culture. He hopes the entrepreneurial community will come to view filmmakers as an asset. Ten entrepreneurs will team up with filmmakers to create short films that promote their brands and products. “It doesn’t matter what you sell, socks or insurance, you need some video content for your website,” he says. “Anybody who’s running a business right now knows the importance of having strong creative energy on their team.” Diminished tax incentives make it more important for the film community to showcase to a new audience the power of film. Adding the business conference is a natural progression, Brawley says. “We’re encouraging people to take risks. We’re celebrating innovation.”


GREENVILLEMayne Pharma will invest $65 million and add 110 jobs to its 350 in a 126,000- square-foot expansion of its drug-manufacturing plant. The Australia-based company, which acquired local Metrics Contract Services in 2012, makes specialty and generic treatments for pain relief, acne and other conditions. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $60,000, higher than Pitt County’s $41,109. Mayne will receive a state grant of up to $550,000 if it meets hiring goals.

KINSTONAssociated Materials will add 72 jobs and invest $4.5 million over three years at its local plant. The Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based company makes exterior building products including vinyl windows, siding and fencing and employs 62 people across the state. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $32,222, compared with Lenoir County’s $35,952. The company could receive up to $200,000 in state grants if it meets job-creation targets.

WILMINGTONSetzer Properties plans to build a 213,508-square-foot FedEx distribution warehouse by spring 2016. The Lexington, Ky.-based real-estate investment company paid $1.88 million for the 25.3-acre property. The seller was Wilmington-based Trasco.

WILMINGTONLive Oak Bank added a lending division for independent insurance agents that will be led by Mike Strakhov, previously branch vice president of CNA Insurance Companies in Ohio. Founded in 2008, the small-business lender based here raised $82 million in an initial public offering in July.

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