Inspiring Entrepreneurial

The power of an entrepreneurial mindset. NC IDEA MINDSET endeavors to bring the power of entrepreneurial thinking to everyone through deployment of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program. Working alongside statewide education partners, our ambition is to reach 100,000 North Carolinians by 2025.

Ice House is designed to develop creativity and critical thinking, effective problem solving, teamwork and other entrepreneurial skills enabling individuals to succeed regardless of their chosen path. We believe that the entrepreneurial mindset can change North Carolina.


The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP) is a flexible curriculum focused on teaching North Carolinians how to achieve an entrepreneurial mindset. IHEP is typically taught over an 8 or 12-week schedule, and can be delivered in several formats: online or in-person classroom, boot camp, multi-week or as a semester class.

Ice House is designed to empower learners by exposing them to entrepreneurial thinking while immersing them in entrepreneurial experiences that will enable them to develop creativity and critical thinking, effective problem solving, communication, teamwork and other entrepreneurial skills – skills that will enable them to succeed regardless of their chosen path.

The Ice House curriculum has been developed by Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI). Details about the program, including course objectives, program content and intended outcomes, can be found on ELI’s website. You can also watch this short video by NC IDEA’s CEO Thom Ruhe outlining what Ice House is all about.

Who is this program designed for?

This program is for anyone interested in learning the entrepreneurial mindset! Ice House is designed for broad application in corporate, higher education, high school, youth programs or workforce development audiences.

How much does it cost?

It is free to attend Ice House facilitator training. Once you are a certified facilitator, you will have free access to all online materials.

I’m interested in participating in an Ice House program, but I don’t want to do facilitator training. How can I take the Ice House course?

We offer a self-paced, online Ice House course. This course is free! You can use this link to request a code to get started.

How do I become an Ice House facilitator?

Becoming an Ice House facilitator is an excellent way to engage in high quality professional development while also giving you the tools and skills to bring entrepreneurial thinking to your intended community.

To become an IHEP facilitator, you must attend IHEP facilitator training, which NC IDEA offers in collaboration with ELI. Facilitator training is primarily focused on providing background insights (the “why” of the entrepreneurial mindset) and an introduction to the course materials. Facilitator training is generally online, held over the span of 4 weeks, with meeting times in the evenings.

We invite organizations to apply to become facilitators. Organizations with demonstrable intent and capacity to offer the program will be given priority consideration, as will organizations who are actively working in economically distressed counties. Organizations must be:

Located and working in North Carolina

Interested in developing an entrepreneurial mindset within their own organization or the people/entities/companies that they support

A government entity, educational institution, entrepreneurial support organization, economic development organization, CDFI or corporation

Interested in becoming a certified Ice House facilitator? Join the mailing list to get notified of the next training.

NC IDEA supported Ice House Entrepreneurship Programs are regularly launching throughout the state, getting us one step closer to our goal of educating 100,000 North Carolinians with an entrepreneurial mindset. Here are some of the organizations and communities that have held Ice House programs.

Aspire Community Capital – Charlotte, NC

Central Piedmont Community College – Charlotte, NC

Community in Schools – Pembroke, NC

Helius Foundation – Durham, NC

HUB Startups, Town of Pembroke – Pembroke, NC

Pathways Center – Raleigh, NC

Robeson Community College – Lumberton, NC

Wake Tech Prison – Raleigh, NC

The Town of Warrenton – Warren County, NC

City of Asheville – Asheville, NC

Salem College – Forsyth County, NC

Fayetteville Technical Community College – Fayetteville, NC

East Burke High School – Connelly Springs, NC

Dr. Stephen Moore has used the Ice House program and book in his freshman course at University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “The book is ‘reachable’ by all our students and is helpful in establishing a platform and foundation that enhances the other lectures and lessons I present throughout the semester.” Dr. Moore commented. Below are some quotes from students at UNC-P describing how the program impacted their mindset.

The COVID pandemic has affected every facet of life; from work to going to the grocery store; the way we interact with others and move throughout the world has changed. Now more than ever, the Ice House training modules are needed to help budding entrepreneurs figure out how to take their ideas to the next level.

This page is designed to support trained Ice House facilitators in facilitating virtual training sessions that are engaging, purposeful and utilize technology in a seamless and easy way. We wanted to provide some tools, videos and ideas for how to make your upcoming Ice House sessions a great virtual experience.

7 Tips for Engaging Online Facilitation

1 – Communicate what tech you’ll be using to participants.

Share the plan for the sessions, the technology you’ll be using, and offer space for participants to reach out if they’re confused about how they can participate.

Resources to help:
Sample email template

2 – Reimagine your material for a virtual space.

Is there content that can be done as homework so you can use your virtual time together debriefing and having a discussion? Could you record a lecture and send it out in advance to give participants ample time to review the materials before the course meetings? Having a mix of asynchronous and synchronous teaching can help keep participants engaged and not feel like they’re on a 10-hour Zoom call.

Resources to help:
“What We Learned (in 48 Hours) about Putting Together Online Project Presentations that Don’t Suck” by sam seidel
“3 ways to make remote learning more engaging” by Jorge Valenzuela

3 – Find a dedicated “tech support” for your first session.

Buy a friend a coffee and see if they’d be willing to be on hand as tech support if any participants are having trouble with audio, connecting to the call or any other minor concerns. This can help alleviate the stress of facilitation using technology.

4 – Co-create protocols and processes for participation.

Setting up protocols with your group helps ensure everyone is on the same page and knows how they can participate in the sessions. This can include things like:

  • When to have your video on vs. off
  • Muting yourself if you’re not talking
  • Using the Chat function to ask questions
  • Raising your hand if you want to share something with the group

Resources to help:
EL Education Protocols for Virtual Discussion

5 – Build in ample time for collaboration and connections.

Think about kicking off each session with an ice breaker, utilizing breakout rooms for small group discussions, and even adapting some homework to be partner-based so participants can learn from each other as much as they learn from you.

Resources to help:
Virtual ice breakers
Utilizing Zoom breakout rooms
Utilizing Google Hangout breakout rooms

6 – Build in breaks!

Just like an in-person training session, you want to ensure participants have time to breathe. Make sure you build in a 5-minute break for every 45 minutes of straight facilitation.

7 – Make virtual learning fun.

Snap a picture at the end of each session. Consider introducing themes to make these photos fun to participate in, like “wear your favorite hat!”, or have individual “high-five” each other in the photos. Try to replicate the fun spontaneity that can come naturally with in-person sessions.

Resources to help:
“22 Tips to Level-Up Your Virtual Learning Game” by Shannon Tipton

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