News & Insights

2021: Year In Review

As we begin 2022 with hope and optimism, we reflect back on a year of historic firsts in light of the uncertainty amidst a global pandemic.

  • Alongside the appointment of new directors last July, our Board approved a historic budget, nearly double what is required by the IRS, to expand North Carolina’s economic development efforts via entrepreneurship, with a continued emphasis on specific populations that have been historically under-served.
  • Our relentless commitment to meaningful inclusion and the work of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC) resulted in an unprecedented number of grants and dollars going out the door to underserved communities.
  • Of greatest significance, NC IDEA received a historic $1.25 million commitment from the Research Triangle Foundation (RTF), the largest single contribution to the Foundation and a significant anchor partner in NC IDEA’s Equitable NC, a five-year economic plan that expands funding and programmatic capacity to accelerate and amplify equitable entrepreneurial growth across the State. A large charitable contribution from The Wege Foundation was also received at the onset of 2021, also allowing the Foundation to expand its meaningful work to collectively combat the inequalities that perpetuate racial disparities.


Through the bold vision and commitment of our board, the NC BEC, our team and our Equitable NC partners, NC IDEA awarded over $3 million in grants in direct support of  the North Carolina startup ecosystem in 2021.


These awards include a record 174 grants; 58 through our MICRO and SEED programs, and 116 through our ENGAGE and ECOSYSTEM programs. Take a moment to look back on the funding announcements of 2021, and the many companies and partners across the state who are working alongside us in our bold ambition to empower North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential.

NC IDEA and the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council Announce Eight ECOSYSTEM Grant Recipients
December 2020

NC IDEA Foundation Awards Nearly $200,000 to Nineteen North Carolina Startups
April 26, 2021

NC IDEA and the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council Award $140,000 in ENGAGE Grants
May 4, 2021

NC IDEA Foundation Awards Total of $400,000 to Eight North Carolina Startups
May 13, 2021

NC IDEA Receives Historic $1.25 Million Commitment from The Research Triangle Foundation; Awards Seven ECOSYSTEM Grants with Initial Funding
June 22, 2021

NC IDEA Foundation Awards $220,000 to Twenty-Two North Carolina Startups
October 25, 2021

NC IDEA Foundation Announces Over $1.1 Million in Grants Live at 2021 Ecosystem Summit
November 12, 2021