The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) began as an initiative that came out of the NCC Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council (EDC). In 2008, the EDC saw a need for a place to help startup businesses from failing in the first 5 years and a vision that would nurture a strong and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as build jobs and revenue for New Castle County and Delaware.
At the time, the EEC was the first and only incubator in the state and while it is a separate entity from the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, the two entities work hand and hand with each other to partner with resources, events, and making connections for its members. The EEC continues to expand its programs by leveraging the NCC Chamber of Commerce resources, facilities, and initiatives.
The EEC is not just about cost-effective space for young businesses; it is more about one-on-one mentoring and the connections that we can facilitate for growing businesses. The EEC attracts everything from the traditional main street businesses to fintech startups, with programs that range from pure co-working space with business amenities to more comprehensive programs, with one-on-one mentoring. Each business moves at its own pace with guidance that helps them focus on the needs and skills that will help them take their business to the next level.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about two-thirds of businesses survive at least 2 years and about half of that survive at least 5 years**. In addition, most entrepreneurs will attest that starting a business can be very lonely. The EEC works to help decrease those numbers by offering specialized services and mentoring. Does it work? Historically, International Business Innovation Association member incubators have reported that 87%* of all graduate firms are still in business.
The EEC is unlike most incubators in the country right now. It is quite normal for a chamber to offer support to business incubators, but it is very unusual for a chamber to embed its own home-grown program inside the existing chamber of commerce. Research shows that there are fewer than 10 programs like this among the International Business Innovation Association*. The EEC has found that by being co-located with the NCC Chamber of Commerce, its clients work in close proximity to practical business people doing business everyday and have the capability to network with them to help understand that building relationships is so important. This affiliation is one of the many reasons that makes the EEC unique from other incubators in the area.
The EEC has one full-time certified mentor that works directly with each business to help develop business skills and hold each business accountable to the tasks they need to do to keep their business growing.
Young businesses can enter the coworking plus, business accelerator or resident program. Businesses that are older but still need some help can take advantage of the coworking or coworking plus programs.
Since its inception, the EEC has worked with 42 companies, while they were in the incubator, these 42 companies have generated $62 million in revenue and created over 200 jobs in the county.
For more information about the EEC programs, please call the NCC Chamber of Commerce at 302-737-4343.