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Items filtered by date: March 2022

Friday, 29 April 2022 11:42

Spring Entrepreneurial Grant Now Open

Program Overview

The Wilkes EDC Entrepreneurial Grant Program provides funds to Existing Businesses for Expansion, and those who plan on Starting a Business in Wilkes County. Applicants are asked to submit a SIMPLE business plan that describes how the grant funds will be used to grow or start their business as well as a 3-5 minute business pitch video of their request. Selected Participants will give a full presentation to a panel of judges.  Award winners will have one year to draw down grant funds allocated to their project.

The Wilkes Community College Small Business Center is available to all applicants for assistance with their business plans. The Wilkes EDC's Marketing & Content Manager can provide help with videos. 

Submit your Application as soon as possible to be enrolled in the Program. Next you will be provided with a Template for your Business Plan and Financial Summary to complete, and information on recording a Video Pitch detailing how you would use the grant money. 

Spring 2022 Program Now Open! Application Deadline May 6th.

Your application is not considered complete until you submit your Business Plan and Video Pitch.

Click Here To Apply

Please understand that any business that submitted an application whether approved or not, cannot be guaranteed any grant proceeds or other benefits from this project. The EDC is not endorsing any applicant by way of this project and thus no such claim should be made. 

Published in News Alerts
Tuesday, 26 April 2022 16:50

Exciting Times in Wilkes

Wilkes Journal Patriot- "Perhaps it has something to do with emerging from the hardships of a pandemic, but we can’t remember a time when there have been so many efforts with so much potential for positive change in Wilkes County.

This quest is coming from multiple fronts and is fueled by public and private dollars, as well as volunteer efforts.

Prominent in the minds of many Wilkes Countians is the pending reopening of the North Wilkesboro Speedway, thanks to an $18 million infusion of federal funds in the state budget for this purpose and the enthusiastic participation of track owner Speedway Motorsports LLC. Aside from economic implications, the impact of this turn of events on morale in Wilkes is significant.

The positive momentum in Wilkes was keenly felt with the recent presentation of bold plans for developing an outdoor economy here. Congratulations to local leaders involved in this exciting effort for transformation and to Boone-based Destination by Design for skillfully packaging and visually depicting the plans.

The breadth of this movement for better opportunities goes back at least to March 2021, when Wilkes Community College’s Education Promise “last dollar” scholarship program was announced.

Last dollar means the two-year scholarship will cover the full cost of tuition and fees, capping out at a little over $2,500 per year, after students complete the FAFSA and get whatever federal and state aid they can get and use a New Century Scholars scholarship if they have one. It’s all about making sure educational attainment doesn’t end with a high school diploma in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties. Primary funders include the Wilkes-Ashe-Watauga Endowment, Stone Foundation, Window World and Wilkes County government.

WCC’s participation in NC Reconnect, an effort to re-enroll adult students who didn’t complete educational programs at the college, was officially launched last month. In partnership with myFutureNC and the John M. Belk Endowment, this initiative has the additional purpose of addressing the state’s workforce deficit.

NC Tech Paths Inc., an initiative focused on helping young people and others in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany secure technology jobs that don’t require moving elsewhere, was announced in January. It also involves WCC and is funded with over $2 million from the Leonard G. Herring Family Foundation.

Construction is about to start on the 31,200-square-foot Wilkes Commercial Business Center near the intersection of N.C. 268 East and River Road-Liberty Grove Road to help address the lack of available commercial space in Wilkes. The prefabricated metal building will be available for lease, with this revenue going toward the cost of constructing more commercial buildings for lease. This effort is led by the Wilkes Economic Development Corp., with funding from the Golden LEAF Foundation and county government. North Wilkesboro is extending a water line.

Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro both have major park improvement plans.

Newcomers Mick and Aynsley Zulpo and longtime local businessman Cam Finley are among private investors making things happen. The Zulpos addressed the need for an indoor family recreational center in Wilkes by opening The Block. Finley is building multi-family, market rate housing in Wilkesboro in response to the well-publicized lack of housing in the county.

There are other big economic development projects afoot.

These and other initiatives are creating exciting times in Wilkes."

Published in News Alerts


In 2019, The Health Foundation brought together a group of representatives from the towns, the county, and other agencies in Wilkes to attend a two-day workshop where they learned about the benefits of building on the natural assets in Wilkes.

The Outdoor Economy Workgroup is now collaborating on the development of a county-wide plan that will map existing recreation spots and identify opportunities for future development. The cost of the comprehensive planning process is being shared between The Health Foundation, the Healthy Wilkes Action Team, the governments of the County and both Towns, the Health Department, Wilkesboro Tourism Authority, and Wilkes Economic Development Corporation.

Working with Destination by Design of Boone, the team presented the Great State of Wilkes Outdoor Action Plan to our community in April 2022. 

The Wilkes Outdoor Action Plan purpose is to create a community-led vision and 15-year roadmap to ensure strategic decision-making to grow the outdoor economy and encourage active living.

The Outdoor Action Plan is being led by the Outdoor Economy Workgroup, which includes representatives from the Health Foundation, Towns of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro, Wilkes Economic Development Corporation, Wilkesboro Tourism Development Authority, Wilkes Health Department, Yadkin River Greenway Council and the County of Wilkes.

The group is focusing on the planning and development of outdoor recreation infrastructure projects such as trails, greenways, destination-quality parks, attractive downtowns and the creation of multi-use public spaces suitable for major events and festivals. These projects contribute significantly to the quality of life for local residents, help grow small businesses and attract visitors.

To Learn More Or Get Involved With The Action Plan, Contact LeeAnn Nixon This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jenn Wages at JThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in News Alerts

North Wilkesboro Speedway Is Officially BACK, Will Reopen In August For Grassroots Racing With Plans To Repave In The Future

A large crowd of people watching a race

It’s finally BACK.

Marcus Smith, President of SMI who owns many of the NASCAR tracks throughout the country, has just announced that the original NASCAR track, North Wilkesboro Speedway, will officially be reopened for grassroots racing this August on pavement.

Starting in October, they will go back to the original dirt with plans to eventually repave it in the next several years

The track first opened in 1947 as a dirt track in rural Wilkes county at the inception of the sport, and was later paved in 1958 and ran some of the biggest races in NASCAR up until the last Winston Cup Series race in 1996. ...

Recently, a new conversation started about it potentially reopening for races when Dale Earnhardt Jr. headed to the track in 2020 with a clean up crew to film for iRacing. The town subsequently started a campaign called We Want You Back to bring more attention to the forgotten track, because residents there wanted it opened again more than anybody else.

Last May, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper approved $10 million in funding to go towards efforts to fix up the track, which really moved the efforts forward in terms of actual, palpable momentum... 

In a press conference, Marcus said that he’d like to start with a truck series run, but even that is a few years off at best: “Conservatively, I’d say 2024.”


Read more here, or by visiting the Fox8 website here.

Published in News Alerts


On April 8, 2022 Wilkes EDC broke ground to officially begin constructing the Wilkes Commercial Business Center! We would like to extend a gracious thanks to all involved in seeing the process come to fruition. Thanks to the EDC Board of Directors, Golden LEAF Foundation, Wilkes County Government, Omega Construction, ArcVision Studio, PC, and the Town of North Wilkesboro, NC for making this project possible. The 31,703 SF flex space offers light-industrial users both warehouse and office space. Suitable for single and multi-tenant use. Pre leasing has begun, for information on discounted lease rates or to inquire about the building please visit https://wilkesedc.com/relocate-expand/building-sites or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in News Alerts