courthouse-clocktowerHere in New Hanover County, the community, elected officials and county staff cooperate to balance a high quality of life with a progressive business and economic climate.

At less than 200 square miles, New Hanover County is the second smallest – geographically – of the 100 North Carolina counties; however, it is home to more than 232,000 people.

New Hanover County is not just a great place in which to live or visit. New Hanover County is also a great place to do business. Tourism, film production, the service and retail sectors are the engines that power our economy.

Our Mission: New Hanover County is committed to progressive public policy, superior service, courteous contact, judicious exercise of authority, and sound fiscal management to meet the needs and concerns of our citizens today and tomorrow.

The government of New Hanover County is committed to ensuring that you are safe, healthy and secure; that is our promise to you.

New Hanover County Manager Chris Coudriet serves as chief administrator of county government and maintains responsibility for administering all departments under the general control of the five-member Board of Commissioners.

The county manager’s work includes the development of the county’s annual budget. The budget is the policy document, financial plan, and operations guide and communications device of county government. It reflects the county’s response to the needs of the community and residents’ requests for services. New Hanover County’s government is operating on a $399 million multi-fund budget for the fiscal year that began July 1, 2019 and ends June 30, 2020. In addition, the county also administers $294 million in state and federal funding. Through this $693 million, the county serves more than 233,000 residents.

In addition, the manager and his executive leadership team are responsible for aligning the operations of the county to the adopted strategic plan and advancing the county’s mission and vision through five key focus areas: superior education and workforce, superior public health and safety, intelligent growth and economic development, strong financial performance, and effective county management.

Mr. Coudriet has served as the county manager since July 2012. Prior to his appointment, he served as assistant county manager for New Hanover County for four years and as county manager in Franklin and Washington counties, N.C.

Mr. Coudriet has twenty-five years of public administration experience, with fifteen years as a county manager or assistant county manager in North Carolina. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from East Carolina University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He is a native of eastern North Carolina. Chris and his wife, Leigh, and two children Montgomery and Silas, reside in Wilmington.

New Hanover County has received the final economic development target analysis report from Jay Garner titled Pathways to Prosperity: New Hanover County’s Plan for Jobs and Investment and it’s critical companion piece, the Competitive Realties Report.

Manager's Message

New Hanover County Awards $1.3 million to 130 Local Small Businesses

Posted June 24, 2020 at 8:17 am

By County Manager, Chris Coudriet

The locally-owned store where you frequently shop, your barber or hair salon, the family-owned print store down the street – those are just some of the businesses that the county has been able to help through the small business grants program. 

There were around 800 small businesses that applied for this grant offering, which was announced and approved by the board in early June, and made possible by federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding 

And just this week, the 130 businesses selected through a random lottery were finalized and they will each be receiving $10,000 in grant funds to help them navigate the financial impacts COVID-19 has caused. The $1.3 million in total funding will help these businesses continue to employ and hire local residents, fund additional cleaning and sanitizing supplies, and ensure their operations do all they can to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.  

New Hanover County is home to thousands of small businesses, and we recognized early on that the demand for this grant funding would far exceed the supply because these businesses have borne so much of the economic impact during this pandemic. That is why the program was targeted to qualified businesses in New Hanover County with more than one employee and fewer than 25 employees, and also why the process emphasized a random selection of awardees. 

The results provided diversity in a number of ways. I am pleased to report that, of the 130 businesses selected, 63 percent are owned by women and minorities in our community. New Hanover County is actively working on ways to make our community more inclusive and more welcoming to diverse workers and businesses, and this assistance to 82 minority-and women-owned businesses helps push that goal forward. 

The companies awarded also represent a healthy cross-section of our business community. Bars, restaurants, retail stores, hair and nail salons, small medical outlets, fitness studios, machine shops, print shops, art studios, coffee shops, and much more were among those included in the random selection. 

Each of these businesses will have $10,000 in their bank accounts by the end of this month, and I hope it provides them with added financial stability to continue to employ our residents and help our county’s economic well-being. 

I want to thank Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman for her direction to create a vehicle to help as many small businesses as possible, utilizing a portion of the county’s $4 million CARES Act funding. Her guidance and the Board of Commissioners’ support resulted in this program. 

I am also grateful to Wilmington Business Development (WBD) and Live Oak Bank who have been our partners in this process, serving as third-party administrators of the grants program. WBD collected the applications and ensured all necessary documentation was received, and Live Oak Bank helped us develop a successful framework and is disbursing the funds to the 130 awardees. Both entities are providing their services free of charge, and I appreciate their partnership in this important county initiative. 

New Hanover County wasn’t alone in establishing some form of aid to small businesses. Orange, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties were among others that established loan or grant programs to assist struggling small businesses affected by the pandemic.  

But I believe the county’s initiative is very rare – because we have the partners, the resources, and the leadership to do the most good with the amount of money we have been given. We have provided these funds outright without requiring a loan repayment or other weeks-long qualifications. It was a simple process, designed to get this money into the hands of our local businesses and our local economy as fast as we could. 

Our goal has been to use these funds wisely and for the good of the community, and I believe we have done just that. 

The pandemic has been unprecedented and created tremendous challenges for our entire community, our workforce, and our economy. While we continue to fight the virus and do all we can to prevent its spread to help save lives, I hope that this grants program provides some relief and a boost for our small businesses and entrepreneurs – and that is helps them in the short-term, so they can get back on their feet in the long-term.  

You can learn more about the county’s grants program here. 


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