Wilmington Chamber of Commerce passes resolution in support of New Hanover County’s Minority & Women Business Enterprise Program to Increase Economic Diversity

Published: 06/29/2020

Wilmington, N.C. – On Thursday, the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution in support of New Hanover County’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program to increase our community’s economic diversity. 


The resolution was presented to the board by members of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s African American Business Council (AABC). The African American Business Council was formed in 2018 to increase opportunities for black-owned businesses in our community. The AABC is led by Tracey Newkirk of UNEXO/Genesis Block, and Joe Conway of NHRMC. In 2020, the main areas of focus for the AABC include:


  • Exchange of Goods & Services: Increasing the percentage of dollars circulating in black-owned businesses
  • Public Policy: Advocating for and supporting public policy that is aligned with supporting black business growth
  • Media & Marketing: Increasing AABC member participation, black business growth and awareness of black-owned businesses


According to the resolution, there were 2,022 minority-owned and 4,721 women-owned businesses out of a total of 14,935 in Wilmington (according to the most recent Census data from 2012). In 2019, New Hanover County spent $6,430,000 of our $79,250,000 in goods and services with minority businesses. This equals only 1.23 percent of goods and services exchanged. New Hanover County’s recently updated Minority & Women Business Enterprise Program has been designed to increase economic diversity in our county. The chamber and the AABC are committed to partnering with New Hanover County to grow the minority-owned vendor list and to increase the exchange of goods and services with minority-owned businesses.


“Events in recent weeks have called for renewed attention to the inequality and injustice faced by too many people in America. The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce stands in solidarity against racism and advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our society and economy,” said Natalie English, President of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. “We must do better to address these issues with a robust plan of action. I’m grateful for the support of our Board of Directors and our African American Business Council leaders as we work to grow black businesses in our community.”