NC IDEA Newsletter – August 10, 2018

If many hands make light work, more hands make more work possible – which is why we are adding to our team!

Over the last several months, some may have noticed we’ve been busy launching new programs while expanding existing ones. With inspired direction from our board of directors, the Foundation has added to our plate of priorities additional emphasis on helping underserved and underrepresented
individuals live up to their entrepreneurial potential. 

This additional emphasis has manifested in new
programs like NC IDEA ENGAGE, which helps
individuals and organizations offer programming
and events to promote greater awareness,
appreciation and practice of entrepreneurship.

We recently announced our first Micro-Grant Pilot Program
that was an extension of NC IDEA SEED, to focus on much earlier stage and diverse (race, gender and
geography) applicants. There were 15 recipients in the first cohort of this new program.

In addition to the ENGAGE and MICRO-GRANT programs, we are still playing our greatest hits: SEED, LABS, SOAR, and rolling out the long-awaited next iteration of our ECOSYSTEM partner program.

The NC IDEA team is busy reviewing 34 applications that were received from around the state, for support and funding of groups doing some innovative and creative things to strengthen the statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In order to add these additional activities to an already full docket, we have just added two new colleagues to our team, and are herewith announcing another opening for a Senior Director, Finance. This is a rare opportunity to join an organization doing important work to strengthen the economy and communities of North Carolina.

Entrepreneurially yours,

Thom Ruhe
President & CEO

NC IDEA SEED Grant Cycle Kickoff

NC IDEA SEED is seeking applications starting August 20!

NC IDEA SEED provides $50K grants to innovative NC-based startups, and those looking to relocate to North Carolina, typically between proof of concept and profitability. The grants are intended to support business activities that validate target markets, reduce risk associated with early stage companies and help companies get to the point of suitability for growth–whether through investment or revenue. 

Interested applicants may attend any of the following interactive informational sessions scheduled throughout the state to learn more about NC IDEA SEED and gain insight on the characteristics of competitive applications: 

In addition to the above information sessions, applicants can also schedule Virtual Office Hours during the month of August to answer specific questions. For more information about NC IDEA SEED, or to register for one of the information sessions, click here.

The application will be available online from Aug. 20 through Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. 

 NC IDEA LABS Application Deadline

NC IDEA LABS is seeking applications from ambitious entrepreneurs!

NC IDEA LABS is an intensive four-week program designed to help entrepreneurs take the proper steps to move their companies forward. Through assistance with customer discovery, assumption validation and decision-making processes, participants will engage directly with the market to assess customer pains and develop informed strategies for product/market fit. Subsequent mentorship, programming and resources will be offered to those who demonstrate coachability and make meaningful progress while in the program.

Couldn’t attend any of the NC IDEA LABS info sessions? Check out the recordings of the webinar and in-person Q&A now. 

The first fall cohort of NC IDEA LABS will run from Sept. 10 to Oct. 5, and applicants will have until Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. to apply.

The second fall cohort will run from mid-October through mid-November, and applications will open Aug. 27.

For more information about NC IDEA LABS and participant eligibility, click here.

NC IDEA Summer School Series

There is only ONE more session of NC IDEA Summer School left!

On Wednesday, Aug. 15 at noon, John Austin of NC IDEA will share tips for perfecting your pitch. Raising money can be difficult, but having a great pitch can make it a lot easier. Register to attend the session here.

Can’t attend the course in person? No worries. NC IDEA Summer School sessions are livestreamed on Facebook and made available on our YouTube channel. Click here to catch up on the courses you’ve missed!
Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for NC IDEA Summer School news and updates!

Other News & Events

IdeaLaunch by Launch Greensboro
August 15, 2018
7:45 – 9 a.m.

Come check out the latest and greatest ideas coming out of the Greensboro Entrepreneur Community! Hear four-minute pitches from startups about their latest idea, new product or expansion. Attend this monthly event and enjoy donuts, coffee and the latest ideas.

Great for those who always want to be in the know, thrive on networking and love supporting other business owners.

RSVP here.

August 21, 2018
6 – 7:30 p.m.

The Monthly Mixer Series was created to bring together ImBlackInTech members, potential members and friends to mingle in a comfortable environment, share ideas and build trust and rapport. The ImBlackInTech Monthly Mixer takes place on the third Tuesday of every month, for cocktails and conversations.

RSVP to attend here.

RIoT Pitch Night
August 21, 2018
6 – 9 p.m.

Cheer on 10 startups competing for the RIoT Championship Belt! Startups from the inaugural cohort of the RIoT Accelerator Program will be pitching. Learn more about the cohort here. Also meet past winners that raised capital and scaled dramatically.

RSVP to attend here.

PopUp @ American Tobacco
August 2018

 Starting in August, PopUp @ American Tobacco will feature a revolving series of popup concepts in a prime retail spot at 359 Blackwell St. in Diamond View III. Visitors might experience a new coffee brand for a few weeks, then a fresh idea in yoga, then an apparel line. It’s not just a series of popups, it’s an ongoing adventure.

For more information on how you can help write the next chapter in Durham’s journey as “the Startup Hub of the South,” visit

For more industry news and events, visit