NC IDEA Foundation Awards Nine Grants to First Cohort of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Partners Grants for statewide network of Entrepreneur Support Organizations

DURHAM, NC – September 8, 2016 – The NC IDEA Foundation, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today 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:

1. American Underground – $100,000 for STAMPEDE, an incubation programfor consumer product companies

2. Catawba ValleyCommunity College – $150,000 for StartHub NC, a three-part effort including: Innovation Fund NC, Entrepreneur in Residence program, and Talent JAM

3. CED – $150,000 for continued support ofthe Connectionsto Capital program

4. Duke – $150,000 forthe Triangle Venture Alliance, anetwork of Angel Networks at UNC-CH, NC State and Duke University

5. First FlightVenture Center- $100,000 for LiftOff, anon-dilutive funding support program for innovation-based companies

6. HQ Raleigh – $100,000 forHQ BAM, a multi-faceted incubation effortforentrepreneurs across the state

7. NC RIoT – $100,000 for events,training, promotion, and talent attraction statewide for the Internet of Things (IoT) sector

8. Ventureprise -UNC Charlotte – $75,000 forVenturepriseLaunch, aprogram focusing on customer discovery, business model generation, and related lean start-up methodologies

9. The Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneurs Connection – $250,000 for a multi-faceted (multipartner) 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.

About NC IDEA NC IDEA is a private foundation committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina and serves as a catalyst for young, high-growth companies. Today, the organization fulfills this mission through four initiatives. The Ecosystem Partner Grant program funds organizations across the state that execute creative programs to support entrepreneurs. Over the last decade, the Seed Grant program has awarded over $4.5M to 109 high-growth companies. Since 2011, more than 100 companies have participated in the Groundwork Labs startup program. SoarTriangle, a program founded in 2012 to address the proven funding gap for female entrepreneurs, formally became a foundation program in August 2016. Learn more at

PRESS CONTACT: Andrea Cook, Grant Program Director 919.941.5600 • [email protected]