NC IDEA SEED awards funding in the amount of $50K to innovative startups to support business activities that reduce risk associated with early stage companies and help companies grow and scale. Grant recipients work with NC IDEA to implement a timeline with impactful use of funds and meaningful milestones. Grant funds are typically released over the span of 6-12 months in separate milestone-based tranches. Prior to the release of each tranche, grant recipients report on their progress. In addition to funding, grant recipients also receive support from NC IDEA through mentorship, introductions and programming.


Application Process

NC IDEA solicits SEED grant applications twice per year, usually in mid-February and mid-August. We typically receive 150-180 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 semi-finalist phase. Semi-finalists are given a week to 10 days to complete a “full proposal” allowing them to elaborate on information provided in their original grant application and incorporate feedback from the reviewers. Each semi-finalist also schedules a 15-minute phone interview with NC IDEA. Approximately 10-12 semi-finalists progress to the finalist phase and are invited to pitch. Each company gives a 10-minute in-person pitch followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. Ultimately, 5-7 companies are selected and awarded an NC IDEA SEED 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 SEED Grant Application Opens

February 2-26 – Spring 2021 Virtual Office Hours

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

March 26 – NC IDEA SEED Semi-Finalists Selected and Notified

April 5 – NC IDEA SEED Semi-Finalist Revised Application Deadline

April 23 – NC IDEA SEED Finalists Selected and Notified

April 29 – May 5 – NC IDEA SEED Finalist Pitch Scrub Sessions

May 7 – NC IDEA SEED Finalist Pitches

May 11 – NC IDEA SEED Grant Recipients Selected and Notified


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