Seed Grant FAQs

When is the final deadline for applying?

The deadline for applying to the NC IDEA Fall 2016 Seed Grant Cycle is 5:00 p.m. on March 13th. Submissions after this deadline will not be accepted. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Will the online portal save my information?

NC IDEA uses the WizeHive platform as our application portal. This system will require each individual to create an account so applications may be saved, reviewed and submitted at a later date. When actively working in the platform, your work will be automatically be saved every 10 minutes. Though we trust that this information will be fully saved when you return to the system, we always recommend each company saves all information in a separate document.

Is my company a competitive candidate for the NC IDEA Seed Grant?

As mentioned on our Eligibility Page, our program is targeted to innovative, scalable companies based in the state of North Carolina.

While we do not limit grant funding to specific sectors, our most competitive applicants are from emerging, high-growth industries. These often include clean/greentech, digital hardware, consumer products, digital hardware, digital media, healthcare IT, medical devices, medical diagnostics, nanotechnology, semi-conductors, social media and software.

Competitive candidates also demonstrate a high level of intellectual property (patents, trade secret, copyrights) or a significant and sustainable competitive advantage. Retail stores, restaurants and other lifestyle companies, including consulting firms, fall out of the scope of the NC IDEA Seed Grant and will not be considered.

How does NC IDEA define a scalable company?

NC IDEA’s mission is to foster economic development in North Carolina by helping young startups commercialize their innovations. While we recognize the importance of all entrepreneurship to North Carolina’s economy, our grant program is staged as a catalyst for technological breakthrough and high-growth enterprises that will create jobs and generate outside capital into the state’s economy. Our ideal company will play a major role in helping us achieve our mission.

All of our grant recipients have a business model that supports high-growth, with a majority of companies eventually requiring subsequent capital from outside, institutional investors (including angels, venture capitalist).

Is my company ready to receive a grant?

Our optimal stage of development is between proof of concept and the first round of institutional funding. Successful companies have achieved a moderate degree of objective and measurable market validation from customers or industry experts. It is also crucial that, by the time you complete your pre-proposal, applicants can concisely articulate their company’s target market, a customer/industry problem and demonstrate significant market potential.

Historically, a number of our unsuccessful applicants were simply too early in their company’s development (of those we highly recommend applying to Groundwork Labs); however, it is possible that your company is too mature to receive our funds directed toward early stage startups. Though we do not determine a company’s eligibility based upon previously raised capital, those receiving greater than $250,000 in investment at the time of applying, particularly from sophisticated angels or institutional investors, are less likely to be considered.

How can I increase my chances of moving on past the pre-proposal phase of the grant application process?

When submitting a pre-proposal, please remember that this is your first impression to the reviewers and often our only exposure to your company. Some of our most competitive candidates use the NC IDEA application as an opportunity to re-address and refine specific components of their business model. As a result, the application may often take a considerable amount of time as you work with your team and advisors.

We HIGHLY recommend that you review your application for both clarity of thought, concise/well-articulated concepts and general proofreading errors. We ask that you thoroughly evaluate your eligibility for the program prior to applying.

What is the intended use of funds for an NC IDEA Seed Grant?

Our seed grant is intended to help young ventures overcome the often high barriers encountered by funding gaps, specifically those prior to raising outside funding. The funds from the program are intended to accelerate the growth of your company including further validation of market potential, providing financial assistance for dedicated personnel and advancing projects to the point where they are suitable to raise additional capital.

Some examples of uses of funds from our past grant recipients include website/application development, prototype development, A/B testing services, marketing services, legal services (including intellectual property related costs), business development expenses (including travel and tradeshow attendance), consultant fees and salaries for new hires.


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