NC IDEA MICRO couples $10K in funding with a six-week program to accelerate your company’s progress.

After MICRO grant recipients are selected, the program proceeds as follows:

  • Each company works directly with NC IDEA staff to implement a six-month timeline of meaningful milestones and an impactful use of grant funds.
  • The grant agreement is signed and the company receives 75% of their grant funds.
  • Companies participate in a six-week customer discovery and product launch program.
    • Customer discovery is focused on clearly identifying the early customers, their pain point, reaching them, and their solution.
    • Product launch will include fundraising strategies, marketing, and meeting with 15+ mentors who can provide advice and/or connections.
    • The program will require approximately 3 hours per week of seminar participation, plus additional time to talk to potential customers.
  • Companies have at least four check-ins with NC IDEA staff or volunteer mentors, spread across the six weeks of programming.
  • Two months after a company’s grant agreement is signed, the remaining 25% of the grant will be distributed to the company
  • Companies will make a final presentation to NC IDEA staff, mentors, and other companies in the cohort, about six months after the end of the customer discovery and product launch program.


During the grant period, and continuing once companies become MICRO alumni, grant recipients can take advantage of:

  • Opportunities to participate in monthly 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 Fall 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.**


Fall 2021 Dates & Deadlines


July 26 – Info Session via WEBINAR

July 27 – Charlotte Info Session

July 30 – Asheville Info Session

August 2 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Opens

August 2-27 – Fall 2021 Virtual Office Hours
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August 2 – Wilmington Info Session

August 3 – Research Triangle Info Session

August 4 – Winston-Salem Info Session

August 30 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Deadline
*All applications must be submitted and received by 5:00pm EST – No Exceptions*

October 1 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Finalists Selected and Notified

October 11-21 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Finalist Interviews

October 22 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Recipients Selected and Notified


Back to NC IDEA MICRO program page →