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NC IDEA and the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council Award Total of $300,000 to Six Partners

NC IDEA and the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council Award Total of $300,000 to Six Partners

$50,000 Grants Awarded to Six ECOSYSTEM Grant Recipients Elevating Black Entrepreneurship in North Carolina

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 today that the organization has awarded a total of $300,000 in NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grants to six partners across the state executing on innovative and transformational ideas that will elevate Black Entrepreneurship.

Since its formation in 2020, the NC BEC has now awarded over $2.3 million in grants within North Carolina directly to Black entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial support organizations supporting Black entrepreneurship, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“Working together with the NC BEC, the announced grants will provide the vital resources and assistance that have historically not been available to Founders of Color,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO and President of NC IDEA. “At a time when efforts to level the playing field are under assault, we remain steadfast to our values of equitable economic development. The data clearly shows that doing so generates greater economic returns,” Ruhe concluded.

The six new NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grant recipients are:

“This grant is not merely financial support; it is a beacon of hope and validation for our work,” said Eric Lewis, Executive Director and CEO of NXT | CLT. “It signifies trust in our vision and the positive impact it makes in our community and the potential it holds for our future,” Lewis added.

Grant recipients were chosen after a competitive application and selection process that drew 135 applications from organizations across the state doing incredibly important work serving the entrepreneurial aspirations and economic potential of North Carolina’s Black community. Applications were accepted from 501(c)(3) and for-profit organizations within North Carolina in service to, or with programs specifically focused on, helping Black entrepreneurs and growth-oriented Black-owned firms start and grow scalable businesses. All grant dollars are required to be allocated toward specific programs and activities serving the Black entrepreneurial community of North Carolina.


NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to equitably empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Through our powerful combination of competitive grants and programs and a network of strategic partners, we help entrepreneurs when they need it most. NC IDEA’s resources are highly competitive, enabling the Foundation to support North Carolina’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs transform communities and view our work as a catalyst for positive change. Learn more at

Andrea Cook, Director
919.941.5600 •

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