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April 15, 2020

Cape Fear Regional Jetport
The third largest county in North Carolina, Brunswick County’s economy is diverse; mixing industry, agribusiness, and aquaculture, with tourism, recreation and retirement. This mix affords the creative entrepreneur a variety of business opportunities. 

Site Selection magazine ranked North Carolina second in its annual Top Business Climate survey for 2013. Selection research was based in part on a survey of corporate real estate executives who identified North Carolina’s overall climate for capital investment to be one of the best in the United States.  The annual business climate rankings are determined 50 percent by an index of tax burden and 50 percent by a survey of corporate site selectors. 

Population growth and traffic counts are major determining factors when looking at doing business in a community. Brunswick County continues to rank high among the nation’s fastest growing counties.  Between the years 2000 to 2010, Brunswick County’s population grew 45.88%, ranking 2nd fastest growing county in North Carolina.   From 2010 to 2014, Brunswick County’s population grew from 107,431 to 118,836 equating to a 10.6% increase, giving it the national ranking of 50th  fastest growing counties out of 100 counties with at least 10,000 people.  The State of North Carolina grew 4.3% in population from 2010 to 2014 with a 3.3% overall growth in the United States during the same period.  

Brunswick County ranks 9th highest for travel impact among the 100 counties in North Carolina. Domestic tourism in Brunswick County generated an economic impact of $507.90 million in 2014.  This was a 5% increase from 2013.  In 2014, Brunswick County Tourism was directly attributed to more than 5.19 thousand jobs and generated $91.36 million in payroll.  Visit North Carolina Department of Commerce Tourism Division for more tourism economic data research. 

Industrial Development
Relocate or expand your industry to Brunswick County. We have land, existing buildings, industrial parks, abundant workforce, easy access to airports, rail, interstates and the North Carolina State Port at Wilmington; all this and a quality of life that most will envy. Brunswick County Business and Industry Development is the County resource for information and relocation assistance or industry expansion support.

Small Business
Opening or purchaseing an existing small business in the Southport-Oak Island area? There is much to do – business plan, financing, real estate, licenses… the list goes on. The following information is provided to assist you through the process. We have compiled Small Business Planning Resource Guide to assist you.  Click Here for the Guide. Use the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce as a one stop shop. We have several Resource Teams within our Southport Oak Island Area Economic Development Committee that can assist you with relocating or starting your small business.  Check some of our available commercial property at


The Brunswick County Planning Department maintains a "Mini Data Book" that is a collection of census and other data, including data about Brunswick County population, revenue, permits, etc. For more information about the mini data book, please call Brunswick County Planning at (910)253-2025 or (800)882-5986, or visit the Planning Department at 20 Referendum Drive at the Government Complex in Bolivia. 


2014 Population Estimate

Brunswick County


Bald Head Island


Boiling Spring Lakes




Caswell Beach


Oak Island


St. James




North Carolina

9,943,964 *

*U.S. Census Quick Facts 2014 Available. Click on the link. 

**U.S. Census Quick Facts 2010 Census Data Available. Click on the link.

Development & Approval Process
Unified Development Ordinance(UDO), CAMA Land Use Plans, Flood Plain Ordinance, Stormwater Ordinance, Water & Sewer Tap Fees,  just a few of the possible regulations and fees that can effect where you can locate your business in the Southport Oak Island area. The first step is to detirmine what government agency your new business site will be here you are locating your business there are regulations and the Brunswick County Development & Approval Department maintains a collection of census and other data, including data about Brunswick County population, revenue, permits, etc. For more information about the mini data book, please call Brunswick County Planning at 910.253-2025 or 910.882-5986, or visit the Planning Department at 20 Referendum Drive at the Government Complex in Bolivia.  If you are looking to locate your business in Oak Island, please check out the UDO and Land Use Plan by clicking Here.

School Report Cards
Opening a business and moving your family?  We have a county school system led by an elected School Board. Below are the schools in the Southport-Oak Island Area. 

Click Here for North Carolina School Report Cards . **NC School Report Cards site does not work with the native internet browswer of IOS devices (iPads, iPhones, and iPods). It may work by installing a 3rd party browser that supports Adobe Flash. 

Workforce & Workforce Training
Brunswick County has an excellent supply of employees for your business or industry. General information about the workforce can be found on our website under Employment and the Employment Security Commission of North Carolina Labor Market Information Division has more information in the Workforce in Depth Summary for Brunswick County.

he key to any good match between employee and employer is training.  This is where Brunswick County excels. Brunswick Community College takes the lead in Economic and Workforce Development Training, through customized training and a new Incubator.  

Small Business Resources
s a new business, joining the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce is a great way to immediately connect with your new Community. Consider the benefits and look at the number of programs offered by the Chamber.  For more information about the Chamber contact us at 910.457-6964.  We also have a “New Business Resource Packet” that can be mailed to you or stop by the Chamber’s Welcome Center at 4433 Long Beach Road, Southport, for a copy.

During the planning of your new small business, utilize one of several non-profit or government agencies to help you through the process.  Organizations such as BCC Small Business Center, Small Business and Technology Development Center @ UNCW, UNCW Swain Center, USDA Rural Development, U.S. Small Business Administration and (SBA), SCORE Cape Fear Chapter. You can also use a fellow small business owner who offers this service. A list of all can be found in our online business directory. These same organizations, agencies and businesses can assist existing businesses looking to expand or those who need assistance. 

Licenses, Permits and Taxes
The best course of action before your sign anything, is to contact the planning and/or permitting department in the governing body that your business will be located. Don’t be caught off guard by sign ordinances, use ordinances, parking requirements, wetland mitigation, required road improvements or impact fees which would prohibit you from opening your business at the location you have chosen. A list of local and county can be found in our business directory.

 There is a partial list of taxes on our website, but the NC Department of Revenue website is more in depth information for Small Businesses. Requirements for registering your business can be found on the North Carolina Secretary of State website.  A local certified public accountant and/or attorney can be of great assistance.