United States: Submit Applications for SEED Grant
NC IDEA is pleased to launch the call for applications for the SEED Grant to advance their startup, gain customers or attract future investment.
NC IDEA SEED offers early stage companies the critical funding they need to scale faster. The funds, along with mentorship and guidance, push companies forward and reduce risk associated with growing startups.
NC IDEA SEED awards funding in the amount of $50K to innovative startups to support business activities that reduce risk associated with early stage companies and help companies grow and scale.
Grant funds are typically released over the span of 6-12 months in separate milestone-based tranches.
In addition to funding, grant recipients also receive support from NC IDEA through mentorship, introductions and programming, including:
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
The NC IDEA SEED evaluation process is rigorous and extremely competitive. Companies must meet the following criteria:
Geography: NC IDEA SEED 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.
Industry and Company Type: NC IDEA SEED grants are awarded to innovative 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; distributors; franchises; resellers; local, service-oriented small businesses (i.e. restaurants, catering businesses, retail stores and cleaning companies) and other “lifestyle” companies; and not-for-profits.
Market Opportunity: NC IDEA SEED grants are awarded to companies addressing large, rapidly growing market opportunities, with a unique value proposition, and on a path to become a multi-million dollar company, have 50+ employees or be investable in 3-5 years.
Stage of Development: Companies have demonstrated proof of concept (existence of a problem, market readiness and an MVP) and are prepared to leverage a $50K grant to scale the business.
Team: Competitive applicants must have at least one full-time founder. 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 $250K are less likely to be considered.
Prior Investment: The 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 $250K in equity investment or over $1M in non-dilutive grant funding at the time of applying are less likely to be considered. They do however, consider founder and “friends and family” funding differently, and such funding will not negatively impact consideration.
For more information, visit https://ncidea.org/nc-idea-seed/