News & Insights

NC IDEA Accepting Grant Applications for ECOSYSTEM Grant Program Through September 30th

Seeking Partners to Strengthen NC’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem with Focus on Under-Served Entrepreneurs

DURHAM, NC – August 25, 2022 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the Foundation is accepting applications beginning August 25th at 5:00pm through September 30th from organizations executing on innovative and transformational ideas to strengthen North Carolina’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a specific focus on supporting under-served entrepreneurs in the state.

NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM is designed to identify and support partner organizations across the state doing inspired things to help entrepreneurs. Working in partnership with others provides the opportunity to foster relationships and create dialog between partners, while allowing a better understanding of how we may (collectively) support more people in their ambition to start and grow companies that will strengthen the economy of North Carolina.

To date, the NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant program has awarded 77 grants totaling over $5.2 million to strategic partners across the state. The program has primarily supported region-focused entrepreneurial ecosystem development efforts, in addition to some targeted efforts toward specific populations, such as the military community; or industry sectors, such as IoT.

“With this current grant solicitation, our goal is to continue to strengthen North Carolina’s entrepreneurial support infrastructure for identified, statistically under-served populations,” said Ben Redding, Chief Financial Officer of NC IDEA and manager of the ECOSYSTEM grant program. “By intentionally supporting under-served communities, we and our partners will continue to create greater opportunity to economically empower all North Carolinians with entrepreneurship,” Redding added.

NC IDEA is accepting applications from nonprofit and for-profit organizations within North Carolina that primarily support growth-oriented businesses; firms with the potential to grow into seven figure companies and/or employ more than 50 people within 5-7 years. The Fall 2022 ECOSYSTEM grant solicitation is requiring that proposals have a specific focus on supporting “under-served”entrepreneurs in the state. NC IDEA defines under-served entrepreneurs as those that identify as female, entrepreneurs that identify as minority (or persons of color), and/or entrepreneurs that are located in counties designated as “Tier 1” or Tier 2” by the N.C. Department of Commerce.

Applicants may request up to $100,000 of total funding. All grant payments will be disbursed by June 2023 with efforts to be completed during the 2023 calendar year. For detailed criteria and to apply, visit Final submissions are due September 30th at 5:00pm EST. Our goal is to select and fund ten (10) proposals. Grant award notifications will be sent in early November and announced publicly at NC IDEA’s 4th Annual Ecosystem Summit in Winston-Salem being held November 14-15, 2022.

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Through our powerful combination of competitive grants and programs, and a network of strategic partners, we help entrepreneurs when they need it most. NC IDEA’s resources are highly competitive, enabling the foundation to support North Carolina’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs transform communities and view our work as a catalyst for positive change. Learn more at