DURHAM, NC – January 4, 2012 – NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it is hosting Office Hours for Entrepreneurs every Friday morning. NC IDEA representatives will meet with technology entrepreneurs to advise them and their young companies on applying for a grant and to offer guidance for general business concerns. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grants program has awarded over $2.3M to 62 companies across the state.

Office Hour appointments are intended for NC-based entrepreneurs and companies focused on software, information technology, medical devices or material sciences. Entrepreneurs can use these sessions to learn more about the grants process and eligibility requirements; however, it is also an opportunity to ask general business questions and get advice and guidance from experienced mentors that understand the challenges of startups. Appointments are made in 30-minute time increments between 10:00am and 12:00pm every Friday. NC IDEA hosts these sessions at their office in the American Underground on the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham. Sessions are available starting this Friday, January 6 and are by appointment only. To reserve a time, please visit www.ncidea.org and click the ‘Office Hours’ link found on the homepage.

“This is an opportunity for us to meet companies, have a conversation and get a chance to know one another in advance of seeing their application which is an added benefit for both parties,” said David Rizzo, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “Office Hours are intended to give entrepreneurs a chance to discuss their eligibility and what they can do to strengthen their application. But even beyond discussing grant-specifics, entrepreneurs can ask questions, bounce off ideas and share their concerns without feeling any pressure.”

NC IDEA’s grants program is a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment. In addition to the funding, NC IDEA and its network of seasoned business and technology partners mentor and guide the grant recipients through the complex growth cycles that young companies encounter, while also connecting the startups with other investors, institutions and business leaders to maximize their prospects for commercial success. The upcoming Spring 2012 grant opportunity for North Carolina based companies will open on February 13. Learn more about NC IDEA’s grant application process, timeline and criteria at www.ncidea.org.

“We know that money alone does not drive success. We have years of experience in building and advising young companies and want to be an available resource and continually enhance the value that NC IDEA brings to North Carolina’s entrepreneurial community,” Rizzo said.

NC IDEA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, targets promising technology companies that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital funding. The organization helps young, innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants. NC IDEA further supports its grant winning companies by leveraging the organization’s solid partnerships and strategic alliances to assist companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. Learn more at www.ncidea.org.