The , one of the best-known groups for entrepreneurs and startup companies in North Carolina, is shutting down.

PTEN, as it was called, lost funding support from its major backers, according to the Triad Business Journal, which reported the news in its Dec. 12 issue.

The shutdown is expected by the end of the year.

The board voted to stop operations after its key backers, including several government agencies in the triad, withdrew support.

PTEN was the merged outcome of two groups – Piedmont Entrepreneurs Network and Triad Entrepreneurial Initiative – in 2004. It not only provided funding for several high-tech startups but also put on conferences and sponsored a “Growth Accelerator program” to help boost startups.

Jon Obermeyer has served as president of PTEN since 2006. The group has a staff of three people.