Entrepreneurs seeking advice and guidance about their fledgling business ideas can now schedule time with venture capital and business development experts who also just might be interested in funding those new and emerging businesses.

NC IDEA, an economic development group based at the American Underground in Durham’s American Tobacco historic district, is setting aside two hours on Friday mornings for what it calls “office hours.”

The first sessions are set for today from 10 a.m. to noon.

NC IDEA has provided more than $2.3 million in non-dilutive grants to 62 companies across North Carolina since its launch in 2006. Grants are awarded twice annually.



“Entrepreneurs can use these sessions to learn more about the grants process and eligibility requirements,” the group says. “However, it is also an opportunity to ask general business questions and get advice and guidance from experienced mentors that understand the challenges of startups.”

Appointments are available in advance and can be scheduled at the NC IDEA website. 


“This is an opportunity for us to meet companies, have a conversation and get a chance to know one another in advance of seeing their application which is an added benefit for both parties,” said David Rizzo, NC IDEA’s chief executive officer. “Office Hours are intended to give entrepreneurs a chance to discuss their eligibility and what they can do to strengthen their application. But even beyond discussing grant-specifics, entrepreneurs can ask questions, bounce off ideas and share their concerns without feeling any pressure.”

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