First off, the initial value of the NC IDEA grant program is the application. I’ve heard complaints about the application’s restriction on number of characters. Having reviewed the applications myself a few years back, I completely support these restrictions. As entrepreneurs, we tend to be overly verbose where we shouldn’t be in applications/pitches/etc.
We first applied for a grant in the Fall ’08 cycle. We were rejected, primarily based off the weakness of our application. When we applied and received a grant in the Spring ’09 cycle our application was much, much stronger. That is part of the process and helped us immensely to refine and clarify how we pitch our business.
The fact that the money is non-dilutive is fantastic. Up to $50,000 meant to help your company meet milestones that make your company more attractive to angel and VC investors. Absolutely no downside, in my opinion. Only thing is, the Fall ’11 cycle’s deadline is August 26… so get busy with the application.
If you can find other programs similar to NC IDEA’s grant program, I would recommend applying. We recently found one that we applied to, Innotribe $100k Start-up Challenge.
Statsheet’s post on their experiences with NC IDEA and IDEA Fund Partners.
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