|NC IDEA is celebrating the two-year anniversary of the first NC IDEA ENGAGE grant this month. After our first cohort of ECOSYSTEM grants were awarded in 2016, we saw the need in the ecosystem for broad community building and support for entrepreneurship across the state. Thus, NC IDEA ENGAGE was born. For those of you not familiar with this program, NC IDEA ENGAGE awards grants averaging $5K each to organizations and individuals in North Carolina that helps them offer new programs and community events, and generally facilitate activity that brings like-minded folks together to support entrepreneurship activity.
Over the past two years, we have awarded 56 grants across the state, distributing close to $300K in funding. Through this program, NC IDEA has learned more about organizations and individuals working with entrepreneurs, some previously under the radar, from across the state. Six of our ENGAGE grant recipients were later awarded ECOSYSTEM grants. NC IDEA also uses this program to understand the breadth of entrepreneurial activity in rural areas. To date, we have awarded 11 ENGAGE grants in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties funding projects ranging from accelerators to implementing the Ice House Entrepreneurship program. We only hope to increase the geographic distribution of awards as this program grows over time.
One of the most exciting aspects of NC IDEA ENGAGE is the wide array of projects we are able to fund. We have funded Talent Jam in Boone, the RTP AgBio + AgTech Meetup, Collective Hustle in Charlotte, GigEast in Wilson, The Helius Foundation in Durham, as well as greenhouse repairs at Halifax Community College just to name a few. Read more about the Halifax Greenhouse project in a recent blog post to see how this grant is creating an affordable space for students and will provide opportunities for the broader business community.
We have funded many worthy groups and programs these past two years and have highlighted them all here. I invite you to learn more about these exciting programs and initiatives, and encourage you to come back frequently to learn about the new projects that get funded each month and hear their stories.
NC IDEA ENGAGE accepts grant applications on a rolling basis. This allows us to actively meet new organizations, and help them offer new initiatives, programming and events throughout the year. If you have a program, activity, or need that supports entrepreneurs who have ambitions to grow to more than 50 employees and millions of dollars of revenue, we would love to hear from you and invite you to apply for an NC IDEA ENGAGE grant. If you would like to discuss this grant opportunity further, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email.
Program Manager, NC IDEA ENGAGE
NC IDEA FOUNDATION
P.S. Make sure to read below for details and a LAST CALL for several NC IDEA application opportunities!