North Carolina Secretary of State speaks with Onslow County business owners

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall traveled to eastern North Carolina on Tuesday to speak with local entrepreneurs in Onslow County.

Coastal Carolina Community College hosted a small business roundtable to openly discuss their performance. Organizers say it’s a great way to bring together diverse business owners to collaborate on what affects them and how they can improve.

Marshall talked about her Rural Rise NC initiative, which provides county resources for entrepreneurs. One of the program’s 14 pilot counties is Onslow.

“Historically, we know we’re going to lose a third of our population in the first three years, and we’re going to lose half of our population after seven years,” Marshall said. “So our goal is to give these businesses and entrepreneurs a better chance of succeeding.

Business owners like Brian Vinciguerra from Cracked It Escape Rooms share what he wants to see and some of the struggles he sees as a business owner.

“What can we do to create a support network to better facilitate, expand and grow these businesses,” Vinciguerra said. “One of the things in particular is about labor costs. We all want to provide our employees with a good quality of life and a living wage, and we have to compete with big corporations.”

Marshall added that she took away a lot of new information to add to her program.

“I’m interested in all the military programs that are available, I didn’t know there were so many and where they were,” Marshall said. “I also didn’t realize that a third of the population here moves every year. As a public policy person, that’s important to me.”

Marshall said she hopes to continue meeting with local businesses across the state.

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