Jim Roberts, Executive Director of the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has been selected as a reviewer for NC IDEA, the state's premier not-for-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs in the region.
NC IDEA provides early financing in the form of grants to innovative companies. Since its inception in 2006, its grant program has awarded more than $3.1M to 82 companies across the state. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment.
In addition to the funding, NC IDEA and its network of seasoned business and technology partners mentor the grant recipients through the complex growth cycles of young companies, while also connecting the startups with other investors, institutions and business leaders to maximize their prospects for commercial success. Nineteen of the 107 companies that applied during the Fall 2013 Grant Cycle were from Wilmington. Wilmington/Coastal NC had the third largest number of applicants of any North Carolina region.
“I have worked with the talented NC IDEA for more than a decade throughout North Carolina,” says Roberts. “I am privileged and proud to help with the reviewing process to forward the startup movement throughout North Carolina. We have been actively pushing our entrepreneurs to participate to pursue the $50,000 grants as a qualifier to help raise more private investment capital and to simply get sophisticated feedback on their business models.”
The CIE officially opened its doors in September 2013. Under the direction of Roberts, it works to identify and nurture high-growth, high-impact companies and to accelerate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in southeastern North Carolina. The CIE houses UNCW’s Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC), future technology transfer operations and the Seahawk Innovation Fund.