WILMINGTON -- A facility designed to encourage and support new business opens in the Port City.
Thursday, UNC Wilmington students, staff and community members got a glimpse of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Business people from all over now have a home away from home in Wilmington.
UNCW's center has an open door policy.
"We're eager to help everyone who has a great idea," said Jim Roberts, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
This is where student Jazmin Capezza plans to get her non-profit company off the ground.
"It's nice that I will have a separate space that's not in my house or at my desk at school," said Capezza. "It also helps to have people around who could help."
One room is the co-working space. It could potentially fit 20 start-up companies. A chair with a fold out armrest would be someone's office space.
"We hope that's the starting point. Then they graduate to one of the individual offices where they have their own closed door and privacy," said Roberts. "The co-working space is really about sharing the expertise of everyone in the room."
No matter how big or small, everyone has access to conference rooms, Internet, financial and legal support and the workshops.
For the open house on Thursday, they brought in John Hardin. He's the executive director of the N.C. Board of Science and Technology for the Department of Commerce.
He said the center increases the region's potential to attract new and growing technology companies which comes with far-reaching benefits.
"High-tech businesses grow at a much faster rate than most businesses do. They tend to employ people at a higher wage level, and they tend to be much more productive so they have a high multiplier effect," said Hardin.
Capezza said having companies like that in an office space can only mean great things.
"The center is going to bring a lot of great opportunities for entrepreneurs," said Capezza.
Several businesses have already set up shop in the center.
The director said the companies they're working with have created 20 new job positions before the center even opened.