Funding Location

Eligible counties are highlighted.

Funding Options

$25,000 Proof-of-Concept Grants

  • Our $25,000 proof-of-concept grants help entrepreneurs evaluate market opportunities, advance their prototypes, file patents, etc.

$100,000 Early Launch Awards

  • Early Launch awards of up to $100,000 help entrepreneurs complete additional proof-of-concept activities, develop and refine the business model, acquire early customers, market test products, hire key personnel, conduct product testing, etc.  These awards are structured as non-collateral loans. 

Funding Requirements

  • Recipients of Proof-of-Concept Grants must agree to: 

    • receive mentoring support  
    • provide an educational experience for a student or class related to entrepreneurship
    • specify how funds will be used and agree to clear milestones     
    • provide activity and metric reports on a regular basis

    Recipients of Early Launch Awards must agree to everything above, plus:

    • Provide a 1:1 cash match equal to the award amount 
    • Repay the award within six years  

Sectors We Focus On

  • Innovation Fund North Carolina supports entrepreneurs starting businesses in the following technology sectors:  

    • Agricultural Technology
    • Advanced Manufacturing Technology
    • Healthcare Technology
    • IT/Communications

Learn More At An Info Session

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North Carolina Portfolio Spotlight

“Innovation Fund North Carolina’s mentors have been great to our team. They have provided us with a lot of wisdom that we have used to move our company forward.”

- CJ Scarlet, Founder of 10 for Humanity

10 for Humanity’s Tiger Eye Security Sensor™ is a hands-free and head up, voice-activated wearable device that detects when the wearer calls out for help.

“The Innovation Fund North Carolina mentors have offered us feedback relative to our business plan, the model, the financials. They’ve been there every step along the way to help us get to where we are today.”​

- Ben Stagg, Founder of Halo Smart Labs

Halo is the world’s first device to combine commercial-grade smoke detection with a carbon monoxide alarm in one unit. If it senses a problem, a voice alert will instantly tell you what’s wrong.

“The mentors at Innovation Fund North Carolina are always in touch. They are on top of everything and have been very supportive.”

- Robert Skillen, Founder of VX Aerospace

VX Aerospace is developing uniquely designed airplanes for light-sport aircraft consumers. Its composite construction creates exceptional performance through innovative flight concepts.

North Carolina News

Success stories are a big part of what we do. Read the latest news on all of our current and former entrepreneurs and their businesses.


The statewide initiative, Innovation Fund North Carolina, is directed by Catawba Valley Community College engaging a deliberate network of higher education institutions, private and public incubators and accelerators, private investors, and private and public economic development organizations. Catawba Valley Community College is highly entrepreneurial in fulfilling its dual mission of impacting education and economic development, so fostering entrepreneurship is part of its core DNA and campus culture.


North Carolina Vital Statistics

Innovation Fund North Carolina’s portfolio companies represent some of the highest potential technology-based companies in the state.

In Funding