Through grant funding, NC IDEA SEED supports business activities that validate target markets, reduces risk associated with early stage companies and helps companies get to the point of suitability for growth funding; be that crowd funding, angel or venture capital investment. NC IDEA SEED provides $50,000 in non-dilutive funding to selected companies.
NC IDEA SEED has two grant cycles each year. Our Spring grant cycle typically opens in mid-February, while our Fall grant cycle typically opens in mid-August. The below timeline includes the important dates and deadlines for our current Fall 2017 Grant Cycle.
August 11 – September 8 – NC IDEA SEED Virtual Office Hours – Sign-Up Here
August 16 – Charlotte NC IDEA SEED Grant Prep Session hosted by Ventureprise – Register Here
August 17 – Asheville NC IDEA SEED Grant Prep Session hosted by Venture Asheville – Register Here
August 22 – Research Triangle NC IDEA SEED Grant Prep Session hosted by NC IDEA – Register Here
August 28 – Fall 2017 NC IDEA SEED Grant Cycle Opens – APPLY NOW
September 11 – NC IDEA SEED Grant Application Submission Deadline
*All pre-proposals must be submitted and received by 5:00pm EST (no exceptions)*
September 29 – Notifications and Full Proposal Invitations Sent
October 9 – Full Proposal Submission Deadline
November 1 – Notifications and Finalist Invitations Sent
November 6-8 – Pitch Scrub Sessions
November 10 – Finalist Presentations
November 17 – Notifications and NC IDEA SEED Grant Recipients Announced
NC IDEA solicits seed grant applications twice per year, typically in February and again in August. The application window is open for approximately 4 weeks. All applicants are required to complete NC IDEA’s pre-proposal, which can be accessed online during each active application cycle. NC IDEA uses an online application portal that allows applicants to create an account so applications may be saved, reviewed and submitted prior to the stated deadline. The pre-proposal asks you to provide detail on various aspects of your company. The pre-proposal application has character count restrictions requiring you to provide clear, concise answers. Typically, between 150-180 companies will apply and submit a pre-proposal each grant cycle.
Following the application deadline, pre-proposals will be reviewed by a review team including NC IDEA staff, NC IDEA fellows, investors and other partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Companies will be notified of their status and receive specific feedback on their application. Typically, 20-30 applicants will be selected to progress to the semi-finalist phase. Semi-finalists will have a week to 10 days to complete a “full proposal” allowing them to elaborate on information in their pre-proposal and incorporate feedback from the reviewers.
Full proposals will allow semi-finalists to update their previous application without restrictions on character counts, although being concise is still highly encouraged. Each semi-finalist will also schedule a 15-minute phone interview with NC IDEA.
Full proposals are then reviewed by a review team. Approximately 10-12 semi-finalists will become finalists and be invited to pitch to NC IDEA’s review team. Each company will be given 10 minutes to pitch and have 15 minutes for Q&A. Ultimately, 5-6 companies will be awarded a grant.
Each grant cycle, NC IDEA will select between 5-6 companies to receive a $50,000 seed grant. Companies selected will spend subsequent weeks after their award date working with NC IDEA to solidify an appropriate use of funds, milestones and a timeline. Grant funds will typically be released over the span of 6-12 months in four separate milestone-based tranches. Grant recipients will provide written and in-person progress report updates prior to the release of each tranche. Beyond grant funding, NC IDEA partners with grant recipients to provide advice and make introductions to our wide network of advisors, partners and investors. Grant recipients are also invited to participate in workshops and speaker sessions when NC IDEA LABS is in session.