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NC IDEA Continues to Advance Statewide Entrepreneurial Mindset Program with NC IDEA MINDSET Grant

MINDSET Grant to Support Deployment of Ice House Programming Throughout North Carolina

 DURHAM, NC – May 25, 2023 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that grant applications are open to support entrepreneurial mindset courses throughout North Carolina with the NC IDEA MINDSET Grant.

A program and statewide effort of the Foundation since 2019, NC IDEA MINDSET endeavors to bring the power of entrepreneurial thinking to North Carolinians through the deployment of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP). With the addition of the MINDSET Grant, NC IDEA can financially support organizations and certified facilitators in deploying IHEP to communities across the state.

“NC IDEA has an ambitious goal to educate 100,000 North Carolinians with an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We believe that the entrepreneurial mindset can foster opportunity and equity in North Carolina and want to empower more facilitators and organizations to host Ice House courses without the financial limitations that may prevent them otherwise,” Ruhe added.

IHEP is an experiential, problem-based program designed to inspire and engage learners in the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset, while immersing them in entrepreneurial experiences that will enable them to develop creativity and critical thinking, effective problem-solving, teamwork and other entrepreneurial skills, regardless of their chosen path. The program can be offered in various ways to community colleges and universities, students in high school and middle schools, faith-based and civic organizations, and those served by NC IDEA’s statewide network of ECOSYSTEM and economic development partner organizations.

“The Ice House curriculum is an effective tool to help people fully explore their ideas,” said Kelly Barber, Small Business Center Director at Halifax Community College. “Individuals can see if their ideas are truly business opportunities and deserving of their time and money. It’s amazing how the lightbulb goes off every time when we start using the Opportunity Discovery Canvas and take a deeper dive into the problem they are trying to solve and the connection to their community.”

Barber is among nearly 100 trained facilitators in North Carolina certified through the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI), developers of the Ice House curriculum. NC IDEA’s commitment to bringing IHEP to every part of the state includes hosting facilitator trainings, empowering facilitators to deploy Ice House in community-based courses, and, as of today, accepting funding proposals specifically for deployment.

Certified Ice House Facilitators and representatives from organizations interested in hosting entrepreneurial mindset programming are invited to attend an informational webinar about the MINDSET Grant and application process on Thursday, June 1st. To learn more, visit

About NC IDEA Foundation
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

About The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative
The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) is a global thought leader dedicated to expanding human potential through entrepreneurial mindset education. ELI serves academic institutions, government agencies, profit, and non-profit organizations around the world to empower their constituents with an entrepreneurial mindset through professional development training, facilitator certification, and curriculum content. ELI is the creator of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program. Learn more at