NC IDEA Foundation Awards Nine Grants Totalling $1,175,000

NC IDEA logo. Source: PRNewsFoto/NC IDEA, Durham NC.
NC IDEA logo. Source: PRNewsFoto/NC IDEA, Durham NC.

Grants for Statewide Network of Entrepreneur Support Organizations

Released by Andrea Cook,

The NC IDEA Foundation, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced that it is awarding nine grants, totaling $1,175,000, to organizations throughout the state that support entrepreneurs and promote entrepreneurship.

“Today’s announcement begins a coordinated effort to link the many great activities happening within the state to improve the economic potential of nascent firms,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “From citizens to policy makers, society has a vested interest in helping more people succeed at pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations,” added Ruhe. “By working with the organizations that support a diverse group of individuals, we have a great opportunity to share and learn from one another, which ultimately serves the best interest of our communities and the economy,” concluded Ruhe.

The activities being supported by the NC IDEA Foundation Ecosystem Partner Grant Program include:

  • American Underground – $100,000 for STAMPEDE, an incubation program for consumer product companies
  • Catawba Valley Community College – $150,000 for StartHub NC, a three-part effort including: Innovation Fund NC, Entrepreneur in Residence program, and Talent JAM
  • CED – $150,000 for continued support of the Connections to Capital program
  • Duke – $150,000 for the Triangle Venture Alliance, a network of Angel Networks at UNC-CH, NC State and Duke University
  • First Flight Venture Center – $100,000 for LiftOff, a non-dilutive funding support program for innovation-based companies
  • HQ Raleigh – $100,000 for HQ BAM, a multi-faceted incubation effort for entrepreneurs across the state
  • NC RIoT – $100,000 for events, training, promotion, and talent attraction statewide for the Internet of Things (IoT) sector
  • Ventureprise – UNC Charlotte – $75,000 for Ventureprise Launch, a program focusing on customer discovery, business model generation, and related lean start-up methodologies
  • The Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneurs Connection – $250,000 for a multi-faceted (multi-partner) start-up company pipeline development and a seed stage funding mechanism

Also participating in the activities covered by the Ecosystem Partner Program will be two NC IDEA Foundation programs: Groundwork Labs and SoarTriangle.

The awards are the first made from a Request for Proposals (issued in spring 2016) which rendered 50 applications from around the state. The Foundation is continuing the search to identify funding sources in order to support additional partner organizations to join the effort in future cohorts. According to the NC IDEA website:

NC IDEA’s mission is to maximize the economic potential of the people of North Carolina by supporting the formation and fruition of high-growth entrepreneurial endeavors in the state.

The Ecosystem Partner Grant is intended to help us identify partners around the state to foster a diverse, collaborative Community; identify and impact promising Companies; facilitate the formation and multiplication of Capital; nurture and attract world-class Talent while optimizing Connectivity.

The Ecosystem Partner Grant program is the largest activity NC IDEA has funded to date. We received 50 applications in our inaugural call for proposals in March 2016, We are pleased to introduce the first cohort of Ecosystem Partner Grant recipients, nine organizations that will be participating alongside the Foundation in an effort to strengthen North Carolina as a national exemplar for entrepreneurship.

NC IDEA is a private foundation committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina. Learn more at

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Kay Whatley serves as Editor and Reporter with The Grey Area News. Kay is a published author with over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. Kay Whatley is wife to Frank Whatley, founder of The Grey Area™ newspaper and The Grey Area News online news website.