News & Insights

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

Grant Recipients Selected from Diverse NC IDEA MICRO Applicant Pool

DURHAM, NC – April 24, 2019 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has awarded $150,000 to fifteen North Carolina startups in its second ever grant cycle of NC IDEA MICRO.

Through small, project-based grants, NC IDEA MICRO awards funding up to $10,000 to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea. The program piloted last summer and 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.

“This cohort of grant recipients is a great representation of the diverse economic potential of the state,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “For many of the companies at this stage, it is their first external validation that they are pursuing something that can become a great company; and it is very rewarding for us to help them realize that,” Ruhe concluded.

These fifteen NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients were chosen after a three-month competitive application and selection process that drew 136 applications from across the state:

In addition to announcing the NC IDEA MICRO grant recipients, the finalists for the 27th cycle of the $50,000 NC IDEA SEED grant were recently chosen from the 27 semi-finalists that had been selected out of the 151 competitive applications received earlier last month. These finalists will present before a review panel and approximately five to seven grant recipients will be announced in mid-May. The Spring 2019 NC IDEA SEED finalists are: ChurchLEARN (Vilas, NC), Companah (Sanford, NC), Devil’s Foot Beverage (Asheville, NC), FeedStation (Chapel Hill, NC), GoKart Kids (Cary, NC), Green Stream Technologies (Raleigh, NC), Jam (Charlotte, NC), Kwistr (Raleigh, NC), Renaissance Fiber (Wilmington, NC), Swell Systems (Wilmington, NC) and Tin Lizzee (Sanford, 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