News & Insights

NC IDEA Awards $150,000 to Fifteen North Carolina Startups

Fall 2023 MICRO Grant Recipients Selected from Diverse Applicant Pool; NC IDEA SEED Finalists Also Announced

DURHAM, NC – October 25, 2023 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has awarded $150,000 to fifteen North Carolina startups in its eleventh NC IDEA MICRO grant cycle. Since the inaugural cycle in 2018, NC IDEA MICRO has awarded nearly $1.8 million to 177 young companies across the state.

Through small, project-based grants, NC IDEA MICRO awards $10,000 in funding to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea. The program, piloted in Spring 2018, was created to expand the Foundation’s long-standing SEED grant program to provide funding to younger, promising startups not yet positioned for the Foundation’s traditional $50,000 grants.

“Our newest 15 grant recipients, 14 of which represent under-served communities, speak directly to the economic potential of our state,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “Each grant cycle, the MICRO application process becomes more and more competitive mainly due in part to the vital work of our ECOSYSTEM partners and their continued commitment to level the playing field for all promising startups,” Ruhe added.

These fifteen NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients were chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process that drew 170 applications from across the state:


In addition to announcing the NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients, the finalists for the 36th cycle of the $50,000 NC IDEA SEED grant were recently chosen from the 22 semi-finalists that had been selected in September. These finalists will present before a review panel, and approximately six to seven grant recipients will be announced live at NC IDEA’s 2023 Ecosystem Summit on November 13-15, 2023 in Raleigh, NC. The twelve Fall 2023 NC IDEA SEED finalists are: Bristles, Inc. (Durham); Cellular Farms (Charlotte); Charvonia Design (Huntersville); DEI Directive (Charlotte); DNAli Data Technologies (Cary); Flexie Inc. (Charlotte); Framewrk (Charlotte); HUB Healthcare (Raleigh); Information Patterns (Durham); RhizeBio, LLC (Mount Holly); Three Strands Recovery Wear (Winston-Salem); and TSV Analytics (Hendersonville).

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to equitably 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