Networking Opportunities

  • BizMix and Open Houses (morning or evening)
  • Member Orientation
  • Annual Meeting
  • Golf Tournaments
  • Coasta Roasta Oyster Roast
  • Chamber Ambassadors Program
  • Elected Officials Appreciation BBQ
  • Washington Perspective Business Summit in D.C.
  • Safety Awards Banquet
  • Business Expos
  • Ribbon Cuttings
  • Shrimparoo
  • Seminars
  • Women’s Professional Development Luncheon
  • Leadership Wilmington
  • Work On Wilmington
  • Guest speaker events

Marketing Opportunities

  • Sponsorship packages available for all Chamber events – cost varies per package
  • Newcomer Lead Program – average of 10+ prospects per weekly report – complimentary
  • BizMix – monthly (complimentary attendance for members, featuring food, beverages and networking; cost for hosting an event)
  • New member contact information announced in weekly email newsletter – complimentary
  • Business listing (full contact info) in online membership directory on Chamber website and Chamber mobile app – complimentary for members
  • Advertising space available for purchase in email newsletters, Chamber website, Chamber mobile app, Newcomer’s Guide and New Hanover County Map
  • Chamber mailing labels (cost per set – complimentary for Tier 6 members and above)

Wilmington and New Hanover County require certain procedures be met before opening a business. Once you have selected the legal form of your business (Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation) and the nature of your business (Retail, Wholesale, Manufacturing, Service), then you are in a position to contact the various offices referred to in this resource guide.

Business Privilege License

Most businesses located or doing business within New Hanover County are required to obtain a business privilege license before commencing operations. Information about county privilege licenses can be obtained by contacting the New Hanover County Tax Collections office. Additionally, if your business is located within the city of Wilmington it may also be subject to a city license tax. Contact the City Finance Division to see if the tax is applicable to your business. All businesses located in Carolina Beach, Kure Beach or Wrightsville Beach are required to have a privilege license. Contact the respective Town Hall or Town Clerk for business requirements. A business license is also required by the State of North Carolina. Information about the State Privilege License can be obtained from the local office of the N. C. Department of Revenue. Furthermore, if the business is to be operated under an assumed name, you should register the business with the New Hanover County Register of Deeds.

Building Permits

In the event that any new construction is involved in establishing your business, you must obtain a permit. Businesses located in the city of Wilmington or the unincorporated areas of New Hanover County should contact the New Hanover County Inspections Office. If your business is to be located in the beach municipalities then you should contact the inspections office for the respective beaches. Zoning and sign ordinance information may also be obtained through these offices. New businesses moving into existing buildings will require a commercial verification permit.


The proper handling of your taxes is vital to your business. The first major tax matter involved is reporting your income to the Federal Government. Accordingly, you should contact the local office of the Internal Revenue Service. This office also can provide a tax guide with information about the many aspects of business taxation.
If your business is a corporation, you will need to report your income to the state (corporate income tax). In this case, you should contact the N. C. Department of Revenue.
If your business is a proprietorship or partnership, then business earnings will be taxed as personal income. Some businesses are also subject to sales tax. You should contact the local office of the N. C. Department of Revenue to see if this applies to your business.

All owners of real estate within the jurisdiction of New Hanover County are required to list property annually in January. A business person property listing may be required. You should contact the New Hanover County Tax office regarding the requirements and administration of this tax.

Employer Requirements

Contact the following offices if your business has employees:

  • Apply for an employer identification number at the N. C. Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service. Both of these offices will provide information about withholding employee wages. The I.R.S. will also provide information about Social Security procedures.
  • Every employer will also need to contact the N.C. Employment Security Commission office about the Unemployment Insurance Tax.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance can be obtained from the insurance agency of your choice.
  • Employers need to be aware of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The nearest office of the Department of Labor can provide information and assistance in conforming to these and other labor-related laws.

Other Resources for Additional Information

Government Agencies


The Wilmington Chamber Foundation partners with educational institutions and the business community to improve current and future workforce preparedness by:

  • communicating business needs to the educational community
  • facilitating educational and training solutions for workforce preparedness needs
  • developing programs for future leaders
  • identifying and implementing strategies to fund Foundation-approved programs


The Foundation exists primarily to support public K-12 education in New Hanover and Pender Counties. As such, its activities include:

  • fundraising for initiatives to improve public education
  • gathering input about education needs from business and the community via forums and other means
  • serving as the link between the public schools and the business community
  • grant-making to individuals and organizations that seek to improve public education
  • conducting assessments/evaluations/accountability

Wilmington Chamber Foundation Board of Directors

Hal Kitchin, Chairman

McGuireWoods LLP

Dick Blouse

Wilmington Chamber of Commerce
Interim President & CEO

Rickey Godwin


Rob Kaiser

Greater Wilmington Business Journal

Charlie Mattox

Senior Vice President/Market President

Mitch Lamm

First Citizens
Senior Vice President/Community Banking

Chris Boney

LS3P Associates

John Gizdic

New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Chief Operating Officer

The objective of Leadership Wilmington is to educate, challenge and motivate leaders and future leaders to utilize their leadership skills to work for the betterment of our community. There are five components that will be stressed throughout the program. They are:

  • Leadership skills/styles
  • Community issues and challenges
  • Dynamics of regional social and economic change
  • Diversity
  • Class project

The ten-month program consists of eight all-day sessions, an orientation social, a two-day retreat to begin the program, Work On Wilmington, and a graduation ceremony. The all-day sessions occur once a month from September through April. To complete the program successfully, each class member is expected to participate in the orientation/social, retreat, all monthly program sessions, Work On Wilmington and graduation. Participants must make a serious commitment to the program and employers must agree in advance to grant participants time off from their duties to attend all scheduled activities.

The application deadline for the 2017 Class of Leadership Wilmington is June 30, 2016. Participants will be sought from corporate, business, education, professional, non-profit and governmental sectors. The Chamber Foundation Board will select a maximum of 30 participants for the class which will reflect the diversity of our community. During the selection process, the Board will review each candidate’s leadership potential, community involvement and accomplishments.


The tuition per participant is $1,500. Tuition covers all expenses for the program. An application fee of $25.00 must accompany each application. Application fee is non-refundable.

Click here for an application

Schedule for Leadership Wilmington Class of 2017

  • August 4, 2016: Orientation/Alumni Award/Social
  • August 25-26, 2016: Class Retreat, Fort Caswell, Oak Island, NC
  • September 20, 2016: Session 1 – Arts/History/Culture
  • October 18, 2016: Session 2 – Environment
  • November 15, 2016: Session 3 – Education
  • December 20, 2016: Session 4 – Human Services
  • January 17, 2017: Session 5 – Infrastructure
  • February 21, 2017: Session 6 – Crime & Punishment
  • March 21, 2017: Session 7 – Growth & Development
  • April 4, 2017: Session 8 – Politics & Government
  • April 29, 2017: Work On Wilmington
  • May 16, 2017: Graduation


Please note: Each regular session will be all day (8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). Except as noted, these meetings will be on the third Tuesday of the month. The Orientation/Alumni Award Ceremony will be scheduled from 4:00-7:00 p.m., on Thursday, August 4, 2016. The class Retreat will encompass two full days and will require an overnight stay. The Retreat is mandatory for all class members. The Retreat will be on Thursday-Friday, August 25-26, 2016. Session 8 (Politics & Government) will include dinner at City Hall with the City Council, followed by attendance at the City Council meeting at 6:30 pm. This meeting is on the first Tuesday, and will be in keeping with City Council’s meeting schedule. A WOW project selection meeting will be scheduled on a date in January from 4:00–8:30 pm to select the projects. Other special called meetings may be necessary.


Co-Director Faye Dunaway
910.762.2611, Ext. 211 |

Co-Director Scott Czechlewski
910.762.2611, Ext. 216 |

Karl Davis Alumni of the Year Award

Know a deserving graduate for the Alumni of the Year Award? Nominate them!

Click here for an application

Work On Wilmington (WOW) is an annual day of volunteer service held every spring. On average, 2,000 volunteers roll up their sleeves and dedicate a half-day to tackle 30+ projects across Wilmington. Volunteer activities during the annual WOW events held since 2006 have included: painting the fence of historic Bellamy Mansion, creating a nature trail behind the YWCA, clearing a lot for the Good Shepherd Center, hanging tiles in a downtown parking deck for the City of Wilmington, clearing overgrowth from an historic cemetery and much more. Each year local companies provide teams of employees to work together on projects.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy routinely provides 600-800 volunteers who have revitalized the campuses of Dorothy B. Johnson Elementary, DC Virgo Middle School and the Boys and Girls Club of Wilmington, among others. Activities have included laying new carpet, constructing a playground, revamping a baseball diamond, painting and landscaping. Employees from Duke Energy have teamed together with active duty marines from Camp Lejeune to lay a new parking lot and repaint the exterior of the Eugene Ashley, Jr. Veterans Center.

Volunteer efforts are made possible by over 70 area businesses and individuals who provide materials, services and financial support. It is estimated that, at each event, over $130,000 in free labor is provided by volunteers who participate in Work On Wilmington.

Because many hands are collectively working, projects that would take months to accomplish are completed in just 4 hours. Work On Wilmington grew out of a request by GE Hitachi, and is a program of the Wilmington Chamber Foundation. The event is organized each year by the current Leadership Wilmington class, which is a program of the Chamber Foundation.

Work On Wilmington Website

JobLink Career Center – Brunswick County

Employment Security Commission

JobLink Career Center – New Hanover County

Employment Security Commission

JobLink Career Center – Pender County

Employment Security Commission

Occupational Training (Cape Fear Community College)

Region “O” Council for the Advancement of Minorities in Engineering (ROCAME)

New Hanover County Schools