MOREHEAD CITY — The Carteret County Economic Development Foundation Board of Directors announced Wednesday the foundation has been awarded a $5,000 ENGAGE grant from NC IDEA, an organization founded to support entrepreneurship across North Carolina.

According to a release from the foundation, the grant funds will be used to develop the Carteret County Remote Entrepreneurial Worker, or CCREW, Network.

“This NC IDEA ENGAGE grant will catalyze a new Foundation initiative to identify remote workers and entrepreneurs in Carteret County, and to better understand their needs in order to provide support and assistance,” foundation chairperson Ed Stack said in the release.

Mr. Stack went on to say County Economic Development Director Don Kirkman and specialist Michele Query were instrumental in submitting the successful grant application, allowing the foundation to launch the new initiative.

“The Carteret County Economic Development Foundation proposal aligns well with the goals of our ENGAGE grant program,” NC IDEA Program Manager Sarah Mixter said. “NC IDEA’s mission is to support and grow entrepreneurship across North Carolina, and we think the CCREW Network can be a model for rural regions of the state seeking to attract and engage entrepreneurs and remote workers.”

According to information provided by the foundation, the CCREW Network has several primary goals, including to identify and engage entrepreneurs and remote workers living and working in Carteret County and to raise awareness of the Crystal Coast as an entrepreneurial and remote working hotspot. Those interested in joining the network can visit the County Economic Development Facebook page to learn more.

“Carteret County has long been a destination for entrepreneurs, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the migration of remote workers from dense and high-cost urban areas to coastal areas like the Crystal Coast,” Mr. Kirkman said in the release. “One of our greatest challenges is knowing who already here, since many of these workers fly under the radar.

“With the CCREW Network we will provide a platform that will allow these professionals to engage with one another and will also allow us to better understand what we can do as an economic development organization to assist them,” he concluded.

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