NC IDEA’s fall 2008 grant cycle is now open for pre-proposal submissions, the non-profit announced this week. Interested companies are invited to submit an online pre-proposal applications.

The deadline is Friday, Sept. 12.

Approximately 20 companies submitting pre-proposal submissions will be selected to participate in a subsequent full-proposal submission and review period from Sept. 29 through Oct. 24. That process will include submission of a more in-depth proposal and budget for use of grant proceeds and potentially a presentation from the company to an NC IDEA review panel. Notification of grant recipients is scheduled for December.

NC IDEA plans to award grants to between three and six companies, with a maximum of $50,000 per company. North Carolina-based companies focused on information technology, medical devices, material sciences or green technologies are invited to apply, with preference going to those that have not received equity financing.

An entrepreneur who has not formed a company may apply, but company incorporation will be required prior to grant funding.

Since its inception in early 2006, the program has received more than 375 applications and has awarded approximately $1 million to 27 companies in North Carolina. NC IDEA targets companies who need help crossing the chasm between initial product development and venture capital funding.

NC IDEA provides grants, loans and traditional venture capital to help young companies between seed funding and Series A financing. The non-profit company further supports these companies by leveraging strategic partnerships and alliances to help companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals.

For additional information about the grants program, visit .