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Startup Companies to Advance Business Ventures

NC IDEA MICRO Grant

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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NC IDEA

Conf. Date:

08/08/22

Deadline Date:

08/29/22 5:00 PM EST

Description:

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Grants of $10,000 and in-kind support to North Carolina startup companies to assist in advancing business ventures. Startups participate in an accelerator program that provides guidance and mentorship. The purpose of the program is to make a significant impact on the future success of startup companies.

After MICRO grant recipients are selected, the program proceeds as follows:

  • Each company works directly with NC IDEA staff to implement a six-month timeline of meaningful milestones and an impactful use of grant funds.
  • The grant agreement is signed and the company receives 75% of their grant funds.
  • Companies participate in a six-week customer discovery and product launch program.
    • Customer discovery is focused on clearly identifying the early customers, their pain point, reaching them, and their solution.
    • Product launch will include fundraising strategies, marketing, and meeting with 15+ mentors who can provide advice and/or connections.
    • The program will require approximately 3 hours per week of seminar participation, plus additional time to talk to potential customers.
  • Companies have at least four check-ins with NC IDEA staff or volunteer mentors, spread across the six weeks of programming.
  • Two months after a company’s grant agreement is signed, the remaining 25% of the grant will be distributed to the company.
  • Companies will make a final presentation to NC IDEA staff, mentors, and other companies in the cohort, about six months after the end of the customer discovery and product launch program

During the grant period, and continuing once companies become MICRO alumni, grant recipients can take advantage of:

  • Opportunities to participate in monthly seminars and workshops on topics such as marketing, sales and meeting with fellow founders
  • Access to NC IDEA staff to get feedback on pitches, funding opportunities, market pivots and other topics facing your startup
  • Introductions to potential partners, mentors, advisors, funders and customers

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 135795

Number of Grants:

10-15

Estimated Size of Grant:

NC IDEA MICRO couples $10,000 in funding with a six-week program to accelerate your company’s progress.

Term of Contract:

The grant period in which you plan to achieve the milestones and deploy the grants funds is typically 5-7 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The NC IDEA MICRO evaluation process is rigorous and extremely competitive. Companies must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for an NC IDEA MICRO grant.

Geography:
NC IDEA MICRO grants are specifically targeted at companies headquartered in and that conduct a majority of corporate operations in the State of North Carolina. All publicly facing materials, including website, social media, and other marketing materials and channels should identify the business as a North Carolina company. Selected companies must agree to maintain the majority of corporate operations in the State of North Carolina for at least the 12-month period following completion of the grant.

Industry and Company Type:
NC IDEA MICRO grants are awarded to companies bringing an innovative product or business model to the market. NC IDEA prefer companies with proprietary intellectual property or other means of sustained competitive advantage that are solving large problems.

Companies with high capital requirements and a long runway to commercialization, such as pharmaceutical companies, are not eligible. Other companies that are considered out of scope and not eligible for grant funding include consulting practices or agencies; training companies; tv/film production companies; distributors; franchises; resellers; local, service-oriented small businesses (i.e. restaurants, retail stores) and other “lifestyle” companies; and not-for-profits.

Market Opportunity:
NC IDEA MICRO grants are awarded to companies bringing an innovative product or business model to market, and on a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 5-7 years.

Stage of Development:
Companies are working to demonstrate proof of concept (existence of a problem, market readiness and an MVP) and are prepared to leverage a $10K grant to move to a quantifiable next step of validation.

Team:
Competitive applicants must have at least one full-time founder living in NC within 6-12 months of applying for the grant. It is preferred that all founders live in NC. NC IDEA defines a full-time founder as one who works 40+ hours a week on their startup and does not have regular employment at another company, including a different startup run by the founder, more than 15 hours a week. Experience working in or on a previous startup, as well as domain expertise, is favorable as well – but not required.

Revenue:
Companies that have revenue in the last 12 months of more than $50K are less likely to be considered.

Prior Investment:
Funding is intended to help early stage companies accomplish specific milestones that demonstrate to investors and other funding sources that the company has high growth potential. Therefore, companies that have received greater than $50K in equity investment or over $1M in non-dilutive grant funding at the time of applying are less likely to be considered. NC IDEA does however, consider founder and “friends and family” funding differently, and such funding will not negatively impact consideration.

Impact of Grant:
The grant will enable the company to validate key assumption(s) and catalyze the development of the business.

Companies do not have to be incorporated to apply for a MICRO or SEED grant. However, if a company is awarded a MICRO or SEED grant, the company must be incorporated in the United States prior to receiving any grant funds. A company does not have to incorporate in NC, and an LLC is considered incorporated.

Pre-proposal Conference:

NC IDEA Foundation staff will provide an overview of the upcoming Fall 2022 NC IDEA MICRO ($10K) and NC IDEA SEED ($50K) grants, which provide funding to early-stage, high-growth companies.

Info sessions:

July 25 – Info Session via WEBINAR – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-micro-seed-grants-inform-tickets-109813

July 27 – Asheville Info Session – Register Now: https://www.1millioncups.com/asheville

July 28 – Winston-Salem Info Session – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grants-information-sessi-tickets-110070

August 1 – Research Triangle Info Session – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grants-information-sessi-tickets-109730

August 2 – 26 – Fall 2022 Virtual Office Hours – Reserve Now: https://calendly.com/ncideaprograms/grant_office_hours

August 3 – Charlotte Info Session – Register Now: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grant-info-session-tickets-378578918737

August 8 – Wilmington Info Session – Register Now: https://www.simpletix.com/e/nc-idea-fall-2022-grants-information-sessi-tickets-109815

Pre-Application Information:

Fall 2022 Deadlines:
- July 25 – Info Session via WEBINAR
- July 27 – Asheville Info Session
- July 28 – Winston-Salem Info Session
- August 1 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Opens
- August 1 – Research Triangle Info Session
- August 2 – 26 – Fall 2022 Virtual Office Hours
- August 3 – Charlotte Info Session
- August 8 – Wilmington Info Session
- August 29 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Deadline
*All applications must be submitted and received by 5:00pm EST – No Exceptions*
- September 30 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Finalists Selected and Notified
- October 10-20 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Finalist Interviews
- October 21 – NC IDEA MICRO Grant Recipients Selected and Notified

Note: You may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during a grant cycle.

Application Process:
NC IDEA solicits MICRO grant applications twice per year, usually in mid-February and mid-August. NC IDEA typically receives 150-200 applications each grant cycle. Applications are reviewed by the NC IDEA team, investors and other partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Companies are notified of their status and receive specific feedback on their application. From each applicant pool, approximately 20-30 companies are selected to progress to the finalist phase. Finalists are invited to participate in an in-person interview. Ultimately, 10-15 companies are selected and awarded an NC IDEA MICRO grant.

MICRO grant recipients receive grant funds in two tranches (payments): 75% of grant funds are received upon signing the grant agreement and the remaining 25% received two months later. Milestones and Use of Funds will be reviewed and agreed upon by the recipient and NC IDEA after the grant is awarded and before the funds are released. First payments are typically made in May or June for the Spring Grant cycle and December or January for the Fall Grant cycle.

Eligibility information: https://ncidea.org/nc-idea-micro/
Watch the Spring 2022 Webinar: https://ncidea.sharefile.com/d-s219523206dda4203a541a13ff16ed111
FAQs: https://ncidea.org/frequently-asked-questions/

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Application: https://ncidea.force.com/

NC IDEA
411 W. Chapel Hill Street, Suite C2
Durham, NC 27701
919.941.5600
info@ncidea.org

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: North Carolina

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