News & Insights

NC IDEA and the NC Black Entrepreneurship Council Award $750,000 to Five North Carolina HBCUs

Five Historically Black Colleges and Universities Each Receiving $150,000 Grant

 DURHAM, NC – December 16, 2022 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, alongside the leadership of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC), announced today the intention to award a total of $750,000 in grants to serve the entrepreneurial ambitions of five of the State’s accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“Under the leadership of the NC Black Entrepreneurship Council, our call to fund the entrepreneurial aspirations of North Carolina’s HBCUs affirms NC IDEA’s ambition to expand equitable economic empowerment with entrepreneurship,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “Equitable entrepreneurship is vital to our economic recovery. Partnering with these five institutions creates greater opportunities for access, exposure and networks for our state’s historically underserved population,” Ruhe added.

The five accredited HBCUs receiving grants include:


The grant recipients were chosen from a competitive process that invited the State’s accredited HBCUs to submit proposals supporting the entrepreneurial potential of students, faculty, alums, and the communities they serve. With this effort, the HBCUs identified the positions, programs, grants, or services they have determined to be the greatest need in serving entrepreneurial ambitions and success.

“These grants will help to strengthen North Carolina HBCUs ecosystems,” said Terik Tidwell, Director of Inclusive Innovation at VentureWell and member of the Executive Committee of the NC BEC. “The Council looks forward to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation on the campuses of these exceptional institutions,” Tidwell added.

The NC BEC was formed in the Fall of 2020 to lead NC IDEA in its programmatic and grant-making ambitions to address the challenges of Black entrepreneurship in North Carolina. Only two years after its formation, the Council has now deployed more than $2 million in grants to organizations, institutions, and companies, to serve the entrepreneurial aspirations and economic potential of North Carolina’s Black community.

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