The NC IDEA MICRO evaluation process is rigorous and extremely competitive. Companies must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for an NC IDEA MICRO grant.
**Note: You may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during a grant cycle.**
NC IDEA MICRO grants are specifically targeted at companies headquartered in and that conduct a majority of corporate operations in the State of North Carolina. Selected companies must agree to maintain the majority of corporate operations in the State of North Carolina for at least 2 years after receiving grant funding.
NC IDEA MICRO grants are awarded to companies bringing an innovative product or business model to the market. We prefer companies with proprietary intellectual property or other means of sustained competitive advantage that are solving large problems.
Companies with high capital requirements and a long runway to commercialization, such as pharmaceutical companies, are not eligible. Other companies that are considered out of scope and not eligible for grant funding include consulting practices or agencies; local, service-oriented small businesses (i.e. restaurants, retail stores) and other “lifestyle” companies; and not-for-profits.
NC IDEA MICRO grants are awarded to companies bringing an innovative product or business model to market, and on a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 5-7 years.
Companies at the idea or research phase; or who are developing, testing or selling a product/service are eligible to receive an NC IDEA MICRO grant. Companies should be working toward being able to demonstrate utility for their product/service, a market need and a clear path to commercialization.
Competitive applicants should plan to have at least one full-time team member within 6-12 months of applying for the grant. Experience working in or on a previous startup, as well as domain expertise, is favorable as well – but not required.
Companies that have revenue in the last 12 months of more than $50K are less likely to be considered.
Our funding is intended to help early stage companies accomplish specific milestones that demonstrate to investors and other funding sources that the company has high growth potential. Therefore, companies that have received greater than $50K in equity investment or over $1M in non-dilutive grant funding at the time of applying are less likely to be considered. We do however, consider founder and “friends and family” funding differently, and such funding will not negatively impact consideration.
See below for a comparison of eligibility criteria between NC IDEA MICRO and NC IDEA SEED. **Note: You may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during a grant cycle.**
|Market Opportunity||On a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 5-7 years||On a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 3-5 years|
|Stage of Development||Idea, Research, Developing a Product, Testing or Selling||Developing a Product, Testing or Selling|
|Team||At least one FT team member within 6-12 months||At least one FT team member|
|Revenue||Revenue in last 12 months of $50K+ less likely to be considered||Revenue in last 12 months of $250K+ less likely to be considered|
|Prior Investment||Past investment of $50K+ equity or $1M+ non-dilutive less likely to be considered||Past investment of $250K+ equity or $1M+ non-dilutive less likely to be considered|