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NC IDEA FOUNDATION Awards Thirteen NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM Grants to Partners Throughout State

Grants to Strengthen North Carolina’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

DURHAM, NC – September 20, 2018 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that the organization is awarding thirteen grants, totaling over $1.5 million to organizations throughout the state that support the Foundation’s vision to empower North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential.

“Today’s announcement is the Foundation’s largest single funding to date, bringing our total in ECOSYSTEM grants to nearly $3 million to 24 organizations over the past two years,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “By partnering with these organizations, we create greater opportunity for the statewide exchange of ideas, experiences and connections,” Ruhe added. “Several of the partners announced today were impacted by Hurricane Florence, but our ECOSYSTEM Partner network is ready to help them relaunch. Together, we are stronger,” Ruhe concluded.

The thirteen 2018 NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant recipients are:

The grant recipients were chosen from the 34 viable applications received from organizations from the mountains to the coast. The Foundation is continuing the search to identify funding sources in order to support additional partner organizations to join the effort in future cohorts.

This second cohort of NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant recipients joins the 11 ECOSYSTEM partners selected in the Foundation’s inaugural cohort introduced in 2016. The NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant program is designed to identify and support partner organizations across the state doing inspired things to help entrepreneurs of high economic potential. The program fosters relationships, cooperation, dialog and learning between partners throughout the state, while better understanding how to collectively support more people in their ambition to start and grow the companies that will strengthen the economy of North Carolina.

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 a strategic combination of competitive grants and 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 $5.5 million in non-dilutive grants to 131 growth-oriented companies across the state, and most recently awarded nearly $150,000 in 15 micro-grants through a pilot program. 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