NEW HANOVER COUNTY — The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved a six-figure incentive agreement for an unnamed software company at its regular meeting Monday morning.
The performance-based package includes up to $120,000 in grants paid to the unknown company in five annual installments of up to $24,000.
Public documents refer to the company as “Project Manage.” State law allows for secrecy when businesses are staking out opportunities that involve incentives paid for with public funds, as in this case. The name will be released once the deal is finalized, or if it falls through. The company in question is a “software development firm,” according to chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman’s comments during the meeting.
Wilmington Business Development, helmed by Scott Satterfield, is spearheading the recruitment. Satterfield told the board “Project Manage” is a company “that we have been working with for several years that’s an existing business in New Hanover County.”
The company employees 100 people and is looking to double its workforce. The financial incentives are contingent on the company creating 104 new jobs in the region over the next five years, with an average salary of $80,000.
Satterfield added the company operates “in a sector that, quite frankly, we are extremely excited about pursuing: the fintech, financial technologies sector.”
“The state of North Carolina is also agreeing to offer participation in this project, as well as the community college system,” he told the board. “Through the state they also have vetted the project and looked at the financials, and agreed that this company is something the state would like to pursue.” The specific state package or program under consideration is not immediately clear.
The City of Wilmington is looped in too. Council will vote on an incentive agreement of its own Tuesday, relevant to “Project Manage.” Through its proposed agreement, council could authorize an $80,000 incentive package for the same company over a five-year period. In total, the company could receive $200,000 in incentives from local governments –– not including any state funding it may be approved for.
Wilmington Business Development is a nonprofit organization designed to entice businesses into the Cape Fear region. This fiscal year the county dedicated more than $250,000 to WBD in its annual budget: $208,600 for “economic development services” and “economic services”; and $50,000 for “competitive advantages and work serving as lead for the County in its goal of more product development.”
One ambition of WBD has been to increase the volume of industrial space in the region. Approximately 800,000 square feet of new industrial space is either under construction or recently completed, Satterfield told Port City Daily in July.
After Satterfield’s brief presentation, commissioner Jonathan Barfield complimented his previous work, referencing the growth of local enterprises CastleBranch and Live Oak Bank under Satterfield’s watch.
“Job retention doesn’t happen by happenstance. It happens because our community has been intentional,” Barfield said.
The motion to approve the $120,000 expenditure plan was unanimously approved.
“Staff is directed to do any and all things necessary to finalize the economic incentive agreement,” Olson-Boseman said to close out the agenda item.
The full Sept. 20 meeting of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners can be accessed here.
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