Matching Grant to Elevate Hispanic Entrepreneurship in North Carolina


DURHAM, NC – August 25, 2020 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has awarded a $100,000 NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant to Prospera, an economic development, nonprofit organization that helps start, sustain and grow Hispanic-owned businesses to achieve community prosperity.

Prospera, a national organization with a North Carolina presence in Charlotte, is the only organization of its kind in the state serving Hispanic individuals who are low-to-moderate income in both rural and urban areas by giving them the training and tools to help them reach economic independence through entrepreneurship. Prospera empowers Hispanic entrepreneurs through education, support and resources so their businesses can grow and prosper. The organization is able to serve entrepreneurs and the community without charging for its services through financial support from corporations, individuals, foundations and government agencies.

“We are fully committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment for underserved populations by removing the barriers to entrepreneurship,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “In partnering with Prospera, we create greater opportunity for one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs vital to our economy,” Ruhe added.

The funding from NC IDEA will support Prospera’s North Carolina expansion plan, most notably establishing a presence in Wake County and the Raleigh MSA, the state’s second most populated county and the second largest concentration of Hispanic-owned businesses. Prospera will focus on helping disadvantaged Hispanic small business owners to become more economically resilient, by having a strong business continuity plan and financial strategy to recover faster from COVID-19 and to be better prepared during future disasters. The project will consist of four main services: business seminars, individual consulting, business grants (client professional support) and access to capital. In-staff consultants will assist small business owners and progressively provide resources, which will allow them to re-open or recover faster.

“We are very grateful to NC IDEA for awarding us this ecosystem grant, to empower more Hispanics in North Carolina who wish to strengthen their business or begin their entrepreurial journey,” said Prospera North Carolina Vice President Jose D. Alvarez. “We know there’s a need for our services in the Raleigh metro area, especially now given the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with NC IDEA FOUNDATION’s financial support, we can begin generating positive economic impact in that region.”

Prospera joins the 36 current ECOSYSTEM partners of the Foundation. Since 2016, the NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant program has awarded over $3.3 million reflecting NC IDEA’s commitment to strengthen the entrepreneurial infrastructure of North Carolina by funding organizations that execute creative programs to support entrepreneurs.

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 Prospera
Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization that since 1991 has specialized in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs who want to establish or expand their business. Since establishing an office in Charlotte to serve North Carolina in August 2017, Prospera has fostered economic development by facilitating over $2.1 million in loans, training over 1,000 individuals, providing individual business consulting to more than 480 aspiring or established entrepreneurs, and helping clients create or retain over 400 jobs. Its offices are located in Charlotte, NC, and in Florida’s central, south, and west coast regions. Learn more at or call 980-729-8273.