MICRO and SEED Grant Applications Open July 29th!

Inspiring Entrepreneurial

You understand the power of an Entrepreneurial Mindset. NC IDEA MINDSET endeavors to bring the power of entrepreneurial thinking to North Carolinians through deployment of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program. We support educators and facilitators across the state to develop entrepreneurial mindsets in their communities.

The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program 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 foster opportunity and equity in North Carolina.

NEED FUNDING for Ice House?

Applications Accepted on a Rolling Basis

NEED FUNDING for Ice House?

Applications Accepted on a Rolling Basis


The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP) is a flexible curriculum focused on teaching North Carolinians how to achieve an entrepreneurial mindset. IHEP 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.

Commonly Asked Questions:

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 business, higher education, high school, youth programs, or workforce development audiences.

How can I take the Ice House course?

NC IDEA has statewide partners who offer IHEP courses in multiple communities. We also have 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 program facilitator?

If you want to bring the Ice House program to others, obtaining IHEP facilitator certification will give you the tools and skills to bring entrepreneurial thinking to your intended community.

Facilitator training provides background insights (the “why” of the entrepreneurial mindset), an introduction to the course materials, and tools for facilitating a course.

Applicants must:

  1. Reside and work in North Carolina
  2. Have a passion for developing an entrepreneurial mindset within their own organization or the people/entities/companies that they support
  3. Work with a government entity, educational institution, entrepreneurial support organization, economic development organization, CDFI, or corporation

Priority consideration will be given to applicants from organizations (a) with demonstrable intent and capacity to offer the program and; (b) that are actively working in economically distressed counties. If you are interested in becoming an Ice House Facilitator, please reach out to programs@ncidea.org.

What steps should I follow to organize my first IHEP course? 

If you are planning your next Ice House course, we suggest using this step-by-step checklist to guide your efforts. Included are sections on creating partnerships, garnering funding, promoting to and registering participants, planning content, and setting up the LMS. 

The Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) has a trove of case studies from IHEP programs across the globe. Outcomes range from increased job satisfaction and retention to economic development in distressed communities.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 Here in North Carolina, IHEP programs have reached middle schoolers to adults, building opportunities for innovation and employability, as well as entrepreneurship. Dr. Stephen Moore shared the following insight on using 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.”

NC IDEA’s ultimate goal is to empower 100,000 North Carolinians with an entrepreneurial mindset. When principles like self-direction, action-orientation, resourcefulness, critical thinking, curiosity, and creativity become widespread, businesses start and grow, individuals reach their full potential, and our state bounds with opportunity grounded in equity.

We have partnerships with third party organizations. Some of them issue credentials which communicate that individuals have developed skills that add value to organizations and communities. The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program is one component of these partnerships. This is the case for:

  • Jobs for Life
  • North Carolina Central University
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Saint Augustine’s University
  • Shaw University
  • Triangle Entrepreneurial Leadership

The NC IDEA MINDSET Grant provides funding to deploy entrepreneurial mindset courses within your community. Applicants can request funds to help pay a facilitator, purchase materials, and/or pay for other logistical expenses. Funds can be requested for up to $5,000, although most courses can be accommodated for $1,000 – $5,000.

Watch our June 1st  webinar for more information.

MINDSET Grant funds are designed to enhance your participants’ experience with the Ice House course. Organizations with existing grants to produce classes may request funding from NC IDEA for components that are excluded from other grants.

Qualifying requests need to be submitted no less than 60 days prior to the proposed activity.

Eligible applicants for the NC IDEA MINDSET Grant include:

  • Non-profit or for-profit entrepreneur support organizations
  • Local governments
  • Colleges and universities
  • Middle and high schools
  • Faith organizations
  • Community centers
  • Service providers that support entrepreneurs
  • Individuals serving potential entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, in collaboration with community partners

Eligible Ice House courses will include a minimum of four hours of entrepreneurial mindset instruction. Courses of 16-30 hours are preferred; these hours can be spread over 2-3 days or 4-8 weeks. Longer format classes have a higher likelihood of being funded, with higher award amounts.

Ice House courses must be led by a Silver Certified Ice House Entrepreneurship Program Facilitator. NC IDEA can help you find a certified Ice House facilitator who meets your organization’s needs.

Certified facilitators may use this application to request discount codes for student LMS access. These costs discount the price from $100 to $0.

Applicants serving the following communities are particularly encouraged to apply:

  • Tier 1 or Tier 2 counties
  • Community colleges
  • Public middle and high schools
  • Groups organized by a shared challenge; such as formerly incarcerated people, a disadvantaged identity group, or necessity-driven business owners

The NC IDEA MINDSET Grant does NOT fund the following:

  • Events or educational programming using curriculum other than the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program. However, you may be eligible to receive an NC IDEA ENGAGE grant with these activities.
  • Business grants. Companies seeking funding for business operations should consider our MICRO and SEED grant programs
  • Funding for equipment or overhead costs (with the exception of virtual platform access)
  • Applications that do not align with NC IDEA’s mission

Applications are reviewed on a regular basis by the NC IDEA staff. Applicants are expected to provide as much detailed budgetary information as possible in the application, as well as concrete milestones that will determine the success of the program.

Proposals that are selected to receive funding are required to report on the achievement of milestones and are expected to provide data back to NC IDEA after the grant period. Please keep in mind, although your submission may appear to fall under our eligibility criteria, funding for proposals is limited, and awards are at the sole discretion of NC IDEA.

When does the MINDSET grant cycle open?

  • NC IDEA MINDSET accepts applications on a rolling basis. Submissions are reviewed on a monthly basis.


How far in advance should I apply for a MINDSET Grant?

  • Apply at least 60 days ahead of your program or event.

I am putting on a course that includes Ice House curriculum alongside other content. Can I still apply for a MINDSET Grant?

  • Yes; however, the MINDSET Grant can only be used to fund the Ice House portion of your program or course. You will need to seek additional funding for the other components of your course.

When can I expect a decision regarding my application?

  • You will receive an automatic confirmation once your application has been submitted. If you did not, please contact us for assistance. Application decision notifications will be sent within 4-6 weeks of submitting an application.

I have already received a MINDSET Grant for an Ice House Course. Can I apply again?

  • An applicant is eligible to receive funding multiple times if in good standing. Current grant recipients are considered in “good standing” if they do not have any overdue requirements. This does not mean that repeat funding is guaranteed. Due to limited budget, applicants should not expect ongoing or repeat funding for courses. If you have questions about applying for more than one MINDSET Grant, please contact the Program Manager.

Can I apply for the MINDSET Grant to help fund my startup?

  • The MINDSET Grant does not support operation costs for startups. Your company may be eligible for an NC IDEA MICRO or SEED grants. In addition, many of our partners may be able to assist you as you grow your business. You should also contact your local SBC or SBTDC for technical assistance.
0 +