Gig East is Wilson's home for technology and innovation. We bring eastern North Carolina and the Triangle together to explore emerging technology, expand entrepreneurship in the region, and encourage conversation around Wilson's innovation economy.
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JANUARY 2021 Newsletter

Gig East Exchange Opens Despite COVID Complications

Exchange Opens despite COVID Complications

At the beginning of 2020, the Gig East Exchange renovation was underway and set to open its doors to the first cohort of the Wilson RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) by spring. Like most things in 2020, this vision had to change and adapt due to COVID-19. To date, the Exchange houses Larema Coffee House as well as two startups in private office suites, Shyft Auto and North State Consulting, and a few virtual memberships. Under the Exchange’s COVID-19 safety procedures, only private suites are being leased for now. All coworking space and dedicated desks are on hold until we emerge from the pandemic. The Exchange team is anxiously awaiting a time when the space can fulfil its vision as the epicenter for entrepreneurship in Wilson.

The Exchange is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-3:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am-4:00 pm for patrons of Larema Coffee. Stop by, grab a cup of coffee, and check the space out. You can even request a tour of the building. We can’t wait to see what happens in this space during 2021!

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Eastern North Carolina's Innovation Hub

If you live in Wilson, you’re no doubt familiar with the term Gig East. The Wilson-specific coinage refers to the town’s set of programming, community events, and networking that are focused on economic development, technology and innovation. Gig East is comprised of 3 main components – Gig East Exchange, Programs/Meetups, and Gig East Summit.

Gig East RIoT Launches 2nd Wilson RAP Cohort

RIoT launches 2nd Wilson RAP Cohort in Spring 2021

Our partner, RIoT, is gearing up for Wilson’s second RIoT Accelerator Program (RAP) to start this spring. Applications are all in and selected companies are going to be announced soon. Since its inception, RIoT has supported dozens of startups–many of which may not look like classic IoT companies. RAP seeks innovative ideas from companies and entrepreneurs that recognize the opportunity to leverage the data economy. You can follow along with the Wilson RAP cohort on any of our Gig East social platforms or by visiting our website at

Gig East Quotation Mark

“In oneself lies the whole world and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Gig East Member Highlight - Larema Coffee House

Member Highlight – Larema Coffee House

Our featured member for this month is Larema Coffee House, owned and operated by Kevin McLaughlin. Meaning “my friend” in the Acholi language of Uganda, Larema was created with the vision of providing spaces for humans to connect, listen, and learn from one another. After experiencing a year of great success at his flagship location in Rocky Mount, Kevin was looking to expand. At the same time, Gig East was searching for an in-house coffee shop to serve its members. Larema was a perfect match! Kevin and his team are perfect examples of forward-thinking entrepreneurs and good neighbors. We are so glad they are a part of our community.

Gig East Digital Summit

2020 Summit Available online

Throughout 2020, Gig East continued to bring people and ideas together in Eastern North Carolina through several virtual Meet Ups and the 2020 Gig East Summit, keynoted by the Center on Rural Innovation’s Matt Dunne, with speakers from the region’s leading entrepreneurial organizations. All sessions are available on our Gig East YouTube channel.

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