LELAND, N.C. -- Five cities across the state are working together as part of an economic development initiative.

Innovate NC is a two-year project with a goal of establishing creative, innovative environments similar to Research Triangle Park.

The cross-city collaborative is the first public-private technology initiative of its kind in the nation.

Organizers say all the cities working together will be beneficial in the long run.

"What's happening on the coast isn't connected to what's happening in the mountains, and we're missing an opportunity to learn from one another. So Innovate NC was designed with that in mind. How do we drive innovation forward within our own environments and connect those efforts with one-another?” said Christopher Gergen, Forward Impact.

The five municipalities will each receive $250,000 toward the initiative.

Officials say each city will submit a strategic progress plan by June.