The NC IDEA SEED evaluation process is rigorous and extremely competitive. Companies must meet the following criteria and make a strong case that $50K will have a strong impact in the life cycle of the company in order to be considered for an NC IDEA SEED grant.



NC IDEA SEED grants are specifically targeted at companies 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 SEED grants are awarded to innovative 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.

Market Opportunity

NC IDEA SEED grants are awarded to companies addressing large, rapidly growing market opportunities, with a unique value proposition, and on a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 3-5 years.

Stage of Development

Companies developing, testing or selling a product/service are at the optimal stage to receive an NC IDEA SEED grant. Companies should be able to demonstrate utility for their product/service, a market need and a clear path to commercialization.


Competitive applicants have at least one or more full-time team member. 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 $250K are less likely to be considered.

Prior Investment

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 $250K 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.


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