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NC IDEA and the NC Black Entrepreneurship Council announce upcoming ECOSYSTEM Grant during Black History Month

By Staff Report, posted 1 month ago
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NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, alongside the leadership of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC), announced on Feb. 15, 2024 that the organization will begin accepting applications on March 11 from organizations throughout the state executing on innovative and transformational ideas that will elevate Black entrepreneurship. To date, the NC BEC has awarded over $2 million in grants within North Carolina directly to Black entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial support organizations and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grant is designed to identify and support partner organizations across the state doing inspired things to serve the entrepreneurial aspirations and economic potential of North Carolina’s Black community. The NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grant is also designed to better understand how we may (collectively) support more Black people in their ambition to start and build growth-oriented companies that will strengthen the economy of North Carolina.

“By partnering with organizations focused on economically empowering Black people with entrepreneurship, we will collectively work to combat racial disparities,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA Foundation in a press release. “Under the leadership of the NC BEC, our call to fund the entrepreneurial aspirations of these organizations will provide the Black community with greater opportunity for access, exposure and networks, thereby leveling the playing field and realizing the potential in everyone,” Ruhe added.

NC IDEA is accepting applications from 501(c)(3) and for-profit organizations within North Carolina that are in service to, or have programs specifically focused on, helping Black entrepreneurs and growth-oriented Black-owned firms start and grow scalable businesses. The application is open to new programs and ideas that are being disruptive and driving change, as well as existing programs and initiatives. NC IDEA is requiring that ALL grant dollars be allocated toward specific programs and activities serving the Black entrepreneurial community of North Carolina. Priority consideration will be given to organizations that: 

(a) are Black-led and reflective of the community being served; (b) have demonstrable intent to focus grant activities and initiatives toward Black female founders; and/or (c) are actively working in rural and/or economically distressed counties.

Grant applicants may request up to $50,000 in total funding. Grant payments will be disbursed in two tranches (portions); the first in June 2024 and the second by September 30th; with grant activities to be completed prior to June 2025. Funding requests should align with specific activities and may be allocated according to proposed milestones. For eligibility criteria and details on how to apply, learn more here. The grant application deadline is Monday, April 15 at 5:00pm EST. Grant award notifications will be sent on or prior to May 30. An informational webinar will be held on Monday, March 11 at 12:00 p.m. for interested applicants to learn more.

NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to equitably empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. For the GFBJ’s audience, the NC IDEA Footprint extends throughout the Sandhills region and includes Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Moore, Robeson and Sampson counties.

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