Growing economically strong and diverse communities requires vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems. Common to such ecosystems is community engagement; namely, organizations, programs, events and projects that create intentional connections, as well as chance encounters.

Supporting the entrepreneurial aspirations of people starting and growing new companies is a great way to create the jobs, economic output and wealth that strengthens the communities we call home. It is an investment in ourselves.

Through our community-focused grant program, NC IDEA ENGAGE, we support individuals and organizations by helping them offer programs, organize events, and generally facilitate activity that brings like-minded folks together to support entrepreneurship activity.




Eligible applicants for NC IDEA ENGAGE would include:

  • Individual entrepreneurs and/or their companies*
  • Non-profit or for-profit entrepreneur support organizations*
  • Capital providers such as seed stage funds and angel groups
  • Service providers that support entrepreneurs
  • Local governments, Colleges, and Universities
    * Current NC IDEA SEED grant recipients and NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM partners are not eligible for NC IDEA ENGAGE

Eligible activities will promote entrepreneurship as the primary goal and may include:

  • Educational programming on a variety of topics
  • Mentoring and advising
  • Startup Weekends and variations of hackathons
  • Networking and match-making activities
  • Entrepreneurship competitions
  • Events organized on a specific entrepreneurship theme or target demographic

Generally speaking, funding will range between $1K Р$5K, with select activities being invited to propose larger programs requiring greater resources. Qualifying requests need to be submitted no less than 60 days prior to the proposed activity. NC IDEA does not allow grant awards to include indirect or overhead costs.

Communities that enjoy entrepreneurially led economic development are investing in future economic stability and greater quality of life.