NC IDEA MICRO awards funding in the amount of $10K to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea. Funding, along with support though programming, mentorship and introductions, is provided enabling you to more rapidly advance your idea. After recipients are selected, each company works with NC IDEA to implement a four to six-month timeline with impactful use of funds and meaningful milestones. Upon signing a grant agreement, recipients receive 75% of their grant funds, with the remaining 25% received two months later.

To help the founders accelerate the development of their company, MICRO companies will participate in the following:

  • NC IDEA’s eight-week customer discovery and product launch program. The program is customized to our grant winners’ needs. For example, if you are still trying to understand your customer’s problem, this will be focused on customer interviews. If you already have a product in the market or have participated in a similar program, there will still be tremendous value for you. The program requires approximately two hours of seminar participation every other week, plus additional time to talk to potential customers (which you are probably doing already).
  • Mentor Madness, an afternoon spent meeting 15 experts from many different areas of expertise who can provide help/guidance/suggestions on issues you are facing.
  • Check-ins with NC IDEA staff and/or mentors to help with challenges you are facing.

During the grant period, and continuing once a company becomes a MICRO alumni, grant recipients can take advantage of:

  • Opportunities to participate in seminars and workshops on topics such as marketing, sales and meeting with fellow founders
  • Access to NC IDEA staff to get feedback on pitches, funding opportunities, market pivots and other topics facing your startup
  • Introductions to potential partners, mentors, advisors, funders and customers


Application Process

NC IDEA solicits MICRO grant applications twice per year, usually in mid-February and mid-August. We typically receive 150-200 applications each grant cycle. Applications are reviewed by the NC IDEA team, investors and other partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Companies are notified of their status and receive specific feedback on their application. From each applicant pool, approximately 20-30 companies are selected to progress to the finalist phase. Finalists are invited to participate in an in-person interview. Ultimately, 10-15 companies are selected and awarded an NC IDEA MICRO grant. The below timeline includes important dates and deadlines for our Spring 2021 Grant Cycle. The Fall 2021 Grant Cycle will open in mid-August.

**Note: You may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during a grant cycle.**


Spring 2021 Dates & Deadlines


January 22 – Info Session via WEBINAR
Watch | View Slides

February 1 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Opens

February 2-26 – Spring 2021 Virtual Office Hours

March 1 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Deadline
*All applications must be submitted and received by 5:00pm EST – No Exceptions*

April 1 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Finalists Selected and Notified

April 12-16 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Finalist Interviews

April 23 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Recipients Selected and Notified


Back to NC IDEA MICRO program page →