UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been awarded a $100,000 NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant from the NC IDEA foundation. The foundation awarded only 13 grants, totaling more than $1.5 million, to organizations that empower North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential.

The $100,000 grant will help support three CIE initiatives – the Mentor Group and Consultant Portfolio programs and the Milestone Accelerator Fund – for two years. Each of the programs is in different stages of development. The Consultant Portfolio Program has been underway for nearly two years and has achieved significant results, while the Mentor Group Program and Milestone Accelerator Fund are new and are currently being tested in the prototyping stage.

“This grant will help the CIE to grow and add to its current offerings by aligning these three separate programs – leveraging consultant results, increasing the capacity and efficacy of the mentor program, and providing funding for milestone activities,” said CIE Director Diane Durance. “Working together, these combined programs will provide entrepreneurs with a continuum of support and exponentially increase their ability to make key connections, successfully vie for accelerator and seed grant opportunities, present to investors, secure funding, and launch and grow their businesses.”

The CIE programs will be offered without charge to selected ventures in the CIE community, including entrepreneurs with high-growth businesses, innovative startups, CIE members, CIE and MARBIONC tenants, UNCW students and university spinouts. Advancing research and scholarly activities and fostering collaborative partnerships are both key priorities of the university’s Strategic Plan.

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Originally published Jan. 9, 2019.