NC IDEA Newsletter – February 28, 2019

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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.

Warm Regards,

Sarah Mixter
Program Manager, NC IDEA ENGAGE

P.S. Make sure to read below for details and a LAST CALL for several NC IDEA application opportunities!


LAST CALL for Applications – Apply by Monday, 3/4 at 5:00pm

Whether you have just launched a startup or are looking to grow and scale your company, NC IDEA has resources that can help in the success of your journey when and where you need it mostNC IDEA MICRO awards project-based grants up to $10K to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea. NC IDEA SEED offers $50K grants to early stage companies, often the critical funding they need to scale faster.

Applications are now open for NC IDEA MICRO and NC IDEA SEED for only a few more days! Apply by 5:00pm on Monday, March 4th!
***Note: Applicants may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during a grant cycle.**

Want to learn more and apply?

Apply Now


Applications Open Now Through 3/11

Do you have a great idea or know someone that does? NC IDEA LABS helps entrepreneurs refine their business model and learn more about their customers.

Applications for NC IDEA LABS are open now through March 11th at 5:00pm EST to participate in our second cohort of 2019 running May 6th through May 31st.

An intensive four-week program, NC IDEA LABS helps entrepreneurs take their first steps to building a successful company. The program guides entrepreneurs through the process of identifying and targeting customers, then validating product/market fit. Entrepreneurs spend much of the time communicating directly with potential customers, gathering feedback and assessing demand.

Want to learn more and apply?

Apply Now

NC IDEA Featured on Supportedly

ECOSYSTEM Partner Highlights NC IDEA on Recent Podcast

Through an NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant to Catawba Valley Community College, NC IDEA has contributed to the launch of The Supportedly Podcast, a show that explores the best free and low-cost support programs helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.

NC IDEA had the great fortune of being featured on the two most recent episodes where CEO and President, Thom Ruhe, shares his journey and how he got involved with NC IDEA, what NC IDEA is doing to empower entrepreneurs to reach their full potential and his thoughts on the role that entrepreneurship plays in the economy. In the first episode of the series he is also joined by NC IDEA LABS company and NC IDEA SEED grant recipient Dipak Mahato of SeaChange Technologies who shares what inspired him to start SeaChange and how he has worked with NC IDEA to scale his company.

Listen to each of Thom’s conversations with Stephanie Kissel of Supportedly by selecting the images below; and when you’re done, don’t forget to check out past episodes and subscribe here.