Semi-Finalists Seeking $50,000 Each in NC IDEA’s 25th SEED Grant Cycle

 DURHAM, NC – March 21, 2018 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has selected 25 semi-finalists from the largest and most geographically diverse NC IDEA SEED applicant pool in the Foundation’s history.

The record-breaking 185 submissions translated to the most geographically diverse applicant pool since the program’s inception, and for the first time, more than half of the submissions (almost 60%) came from outside of the Triangle region, with one-third of North Carolina’s 100 counties represented. The program also experienced a healthy increase in applications from areas of the state that have been traditionally underrepresented, receiving 33 submissions from companies operating in rural counties as defined by The NC Rural Center. The diversity amongst the 25 semi-finalists is reflective of the overall geographic span of submissions, representing 16 different counties as a collective group.

“Geographically representative participation is important to the Foundation,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We hosted a series of workshops from Asheville to Wilmington, with help from our great NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM partners, and these outcomes demonstrate our deliberate efforts to recruit potential candidates from every corner of the state. Selecting applicants with the greatest potential remains our biggest priority, and we accomplish that by broadening our reach,” Ruhe concluded.

The 25 Spring 2018 NC IDEA SEED Semi-Finalists include: 

The semi-finalists have been invited to submit a full proposal with greater details by the end of March. Finalists will then be selected to present before a review panel comprised of experienced investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs. Grant recipients will be announced in early May. The $50,000 grants are intended to support business activities that validate target markets, reduce risk associated with early stage companies and help companies get to the point of suitability for growth; whether through investment or revenue.

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