HICKORY, NC – Sept. 5, 2013 – Innovation Fund North Carolina (IFNC) has been created to help foster economic growth and education through innovation by our state’s entrepreneurs involved with high-tech start-ups. IFNC is announcing its first cycle for pre-seed funding totaling up to $250,000 in awards. The awards consist of $25,000 grants and up to $100,000 in non-recourse loans. There will be three application cycles per year with plans to award up to $1.2 million in the first year. The startup applicants will be involved with technology in agriculture, advanced manufacturing, health care and IT/communications. Applications will be accepted online starting Sept. 20.
Several information sessions are scheduled to give entrepreneurs and other interested parties more detailed information on the initiative. Interested parties can register for the information sessions by visiting innovationfundamerica.org/northcarolina.
Information sessions are planned for 1 p.m. at the following locations:
o Monday, Sept. 16 at Catawba Valley Community College’s Corporate Development Center, Rooms 109A and B, 2664 U.S. 70, in Hickory;
o Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Packard Place, Suite 100 “The Garage,” 222 South Church St., in Charlotte at 1 p.m.;
o Thursday, Sept. 19 at Fayetteville Technical Community College’s Tony Rand Student Center Multipurpose Room, 2201 Hull Road, in Fayetteville.
“This initiative gives North Carolina’s technology entrepreneurs access to pre-seed funding and other resources they need to be successful,” said Dr. Tony Mifsud, IFNC’s executive director. “Innovation Fund North Carolina will increase the quality, volume, and competitive edge of start-ups for follow-on growth-stage investments throughout the state.”
IFNC will employ a rigorous application method that aims to ensure entrepreneurs benefit from the process while advancing core community and economic development objectives. Successful applicants must agree to milestone driven plans and intensive mentoring programs. Educational opportunities in the form of internships and other educational opportunities will be offered to students.
IFNC was formed through a pilot project between Innovation Fund America, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Catawba Valley Community College. IFNC is based on the successful model of the Innovation Fund founded in 2007 by the Lorain County Community College Foundation in Northeast Ohio. Innovation Fund continues to experience excellent results in job creation and education in Ohio.
Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, Catawba Valley Community College President, states, “We have made great strides but have more to do. The Innovation Fund North Carolina is a transformational initiative that will be a model of economic growth, job creation and disruptive, but positive educational experiences throughout North Carolina.”