NC IDEA Newsletter – November 15, 2018

Next week we will reflect upon the things in our lives for which we are thankful. It is my favorite time of year, with no disrespect intended to the holidays that closely follow. I enjoy Thanksgiving for many reasons, not the least of which being that it provides an opportunity for mindful appreciation of the many blessings we overlook in the frenetic pace of our lives.

At NC IDEA, we appreciate several things; first and foremost being the privilege we have to help people realize their full entrepreneurial potential.

We get to do this work because we have an insightful board of directors that challenges the organization to be catalytic in our work and strive for lasting impact. That challenge is embraced by an ambitious entrepreneurial team that candidly reflects on our work and understands that we accomplish more when we include our ecosystem and community partners in this vital work.

Finally, I am thankful for our accomplished network of experts, mentors and reviewers that support our activities. Their generous involvement in our many programs is helping redefine entrepreneurship-led economic development.

My hope for the coming year is the shared understanding that humanity’s full potential will be realized once we empower everyone with an entrepreneurial mindset. It is our greatest natural resource and best investment for a future of peace and prosperity.

If you need proof of that, just take a look below at the announcement of our Fall 2018 NC IDEA SEED grant recipients; a bright group of folks growing companies of high economic potential AND social impact.

Entrepreneurially (and appreciatively) yours,

Thom Ruhe
President & CEO

Congrats to Our Fall 2018 NC IDEA SEED Grant Recipients

Congratulations to the following five NC IDEA SEED grant recipients chosen after a four-month competitive application and selection process that drew 158 applications from across the state.

“This newest cohort of NC IDEA SEED grant recipients is a great representation of the breadth of entrepreneurship across the state. Our continued expansion and growing partnerships across the state resulted in an eclectic and diverse group of companies that are positioned to quickly grow, create jobs and positively impact the state’s economy,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA.


Bear Fiber – Winston-Salem, NC

Bear Fiber provides natural and fully “cottonized” hemp fiber for textile and apparel design, development and production. “Cottonized” fiber is in a state that can be easily spun into yarn-like cotton.


Courtroom5 – Durham, NC

Courtroom5 prepares pro se litigants to represent themselves effectively in civil court by providing automated, customized legal assistance on strategy, direction and execution of litigation procedures using machine intelligence, project management tools, self-serve training and an online community.

ExLattice – Raleigh, NC

ExLattice offers innovative engineering software solutions for metal additive manufacturing/3D printing that improves the design capability and process productivity, ensuring printing success in a user-friendly fashion cutting weeks off the design cycle to just hours while also saving tens of thousands of dollars.


Phinite – Tar Heel, NC

Phinite makes renewable organic fertilizer from manure on big animal farms. Their proprietary, patent-pending Sludge Treatment Wetland technology allows the company to do this more than 90% cheaper than the competition.


Vizla – Charlotte, NC

Vizla eliminates the confusion and time that construction workers waste searching for information on a jobsite by providing easy and simple access to construction plans and information with a simple scan. This use of technology allows the general contractor to build faster, make less errors and increase profits.

NC IDEA to Launch Entrepreneurial Mindset Program Statewide 

NC IDEA has an ambitious goal to educate 100,000 North Carolinians with an entrepreneurial mindset. We cannot do this alone, so we are seeking education partners who want to help us empower as many people as possible by offering the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP). NC IDEA is hosting a three-day Ice House Facilitator Training for education partners interested in offering the course to their constituents.

Ice House Facilitator Training
December 12-14, 2018
Durham Convention Center
301 W Morgan St, Durham, NC 27701

*Hotel Block available at Marriott Downtown Durham, 201 Foster St, Durham, NC 27701
Must reserve room by 12/4/18 

Education partners will likely be entrepreneurially-minded organizations drawn from educational institutions (particularly community colleges), entrepreneurial support organizations, economic development organizations, CDFIs or government entities. Organizations with demonstrable intent and capacity to offer the program to individuals broadly, will be given priority consideration. Because seating is limited, we will be admitting facilitators through an application process. NC IDEA will pay the training costs and participants will only have travel-related expenses. The deadline to apply is December 1st.

Learn More and Apply

NC IDEA Companies In the News

  • Good luck to NC IDEA LABS company, RewardStock who’s pitching its rewards tracking tech on Shark Tank this Sunday, November 18th. Read more.
  • Congrats to NC IDEA LABS company and NC IDEA SEED grant recipient ecree for landing $1.5M to keep writing its own story. Read more.
  • A congrats is in order for energy drink Mati, a previous NC IDEA SEED grant recipient and NC IDEA SOAR company on raising an additional $2M. Read more.
  • Visit NC IDEA LABS company Beard and Lady at the American Underground Popup Space from November 6 – 24 on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am to 7pm to purchase your all-natural, apothecary-inspired personal care and grooming products for the men and women in your lives this holiday. Read more.