Foundation Expanding Long-Standing Grant Program to Serve More Promising Startups

 DURHAM, NC – April 9, 2018 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today a Micro-Grant Pilot Program as an expansion of its long-standing NC IDEA SEED grant program. This Summer’s pilot will award micro-grants to deserving companies not yet positioned for its traditional $50K seed grants.

The NC IDEA SEED Micro-Grant Pilot Program will award project-based grants in the amount of $1K – $10K to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea; or if further along, validate scalability where a small amount of funding would make a significant impact. Grant recipients will also receive mentorship and assistance from NC IDEA, as well as access to its wide network of advisors, partners and investors. NC IDEA is seeking applications from NC-based startups with innovative products or business models with the potential of becoming a $5M company in 5-7 years. We are particularly interested in high-ambition startups and founders outside of our traditional software and hardware focus; and are also seeking companies existing in North Carolina’s rural and economically distressed counties.

“We are expanding our long-standing NC IDEA SEED grant program to best meet the needs of the earlier stage entrepreneur,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We are seeing an increase in the number of young companies where deploying smaller amounts of money could make an even bigger impact. Providing these micro-grants will allow us to serve more promising companies and better enable under-resourced, early stage ambitious founders to advance their idea. ” Ruhe concluded.

Interested applicants can attend any of several upcoming online and in-person info sessions, as well as Virtual Office Hours during the month of April to gain more insight on the characteristics of a competitive application and answer specific questions. More information and a schedule of these sessions is available online here. The application is available online now through May 14th at 5:00pm EST.

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina. Today, the organization fulfills this mission through multiple grant and assistance programs. NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM funds organizations across the state that execute creative programs to support entrepreneurs. Similarly, NC IDEA ENGAGE is a community-focused grant program supporting individuals and organizations that facilitate entrepreneurship activity. Over the last decade, the NC IDEA SEED program has awarded over $5M in non-dilutive grants to 125 high-growth companies across the state. Since 2011, over 150 companies have participated in NC IDEA LABS, formerly Groundwork Labs, to guide founders developing an idea or product. NC IDEA SOAR, a program founded in 2012, supports female entrepreneurs leading scalable businesses in raising capital through mentorship, strategic advice and connections. NC IDEA LEAD, the Foundation’s newest program, provides leadership training for founders of high-growth companies. Learn more at