News & Insights

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

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

 DURHAM, NC – April 25, 2022 – 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 eighth NC IDEA MICRO grant cycle. Since the inaugural cycle in Spring 2018, NC IDEA MICRO has awarded over $1.3 million to 133 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 as an expansion of 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.

“Over five years ago, we made a commitment to equity and equal opportunity that no less than 50% of our grants and programs should serve historically underrepresented communities,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “This cohort of MICRO grant recipients is a clear result of the combined efforts of the Foundation and our ECOSYSTEM partners to level the playing field and inject more competition into our processes without lowering the bar. The results speak for themselves this cycle with all fifteen grant recipients being either female-founded, minority-founded or hailing from a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county,” Ruhe added.

These fifteen NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients were chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process that drew 139 applications from across the state:

  • Animal Cancer Dx – Raleigh, NC
  • anyBODY Clothing – Apex, NC
  • Ashanti Styles LLC – Apex, NC
  • BLKResumes – Charlotte, NC
  • Calico Sol – Raleigh, NC
  • DEI Directive – Charlotte, NC
  • DivySci Software – Durham, NC
  • Holy Smokes! Foods – Carrboro, NC
  • LabRunner – Raleigh, NC
  • Periscope Health Analytics – Charlotte, NC
  • PettyGigs Inc. – Charlotte, NC
  • Ponybox Clothing – Charlotte, NC
  • A.W Plastic – Greenville, NC
  • ROSA Technology, LLC – Chapel Hill, NC
  • Secure Living – Charlotte, NC


In addition to announcing the NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients, the finalists for the 33rd cycle of the $50,000 NC IDEA SEED grant were recently chosen from the 24 semi-finalists that had been selected out of all applications received in March. These finalists will present before a review panel and approximately five to seven grant recipients will be announced in early May. The twelve Spring 2022 NC IDEA SEED finalists are: 828 Labs LLC (Candler, NC); Botanical Bones (Asheville, NC); Buzy (Charlotte, NC); Cicil (Wilmington, NC); CopyForward Inc. (Winston-Salem, NC); Cybershield Security (Huntersville, NC); Essential Personnel (Wilmington, NC); Gatherware, Inc (Davidson, NC); Green Solutions Group, LLC (Salisbury, NC); Nurtured Nest (Holly Springs, NC); Well Seasoned Table (Candler, NC); and WH Farms Co. (Charlotte, NC).

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