NC IDEA’s MICRO grant provides small amounts of funding to entrepreneurs who are testing a big, new business idea.
Donor Name: NC IDEA
State: North Carolina
County: All Counties
Type of Grant: Grant
Size of the Grant: $10K
Through small, project-based grants, NC IDEA MICRO awards $10K in funding to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea. They have found that funding, paired with mentorship and guidance, early in a company’s lifecycle, can make a significant impact on future success.
NC IDEA MICRO couples $10K in funding with a six to eight-week program to accelerate your company’s progress.
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
- 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. 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 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; tv/film production 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.
- Competitive applicants must have at least one full-time founder living in NC. 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.
- Companies that have revenue in the last 12 months of more than $250K are less likely to be considered.
- Prior Investment
- Their 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.
- Impact of Grant
- The grant will enable the company to scale to the point that it could raise institutional investment, win grants or increase revenue to ensure its continued growth and sustainability.
For more information, visit NC IDEA