It’s still the middle of summer but economic development group NC IDEA is looking for entrepreneurs to apply for its fall cycle of grant funding and this round comes with a visual twist: video.

For the first time, entrepreneurs applying for NC IDEA grants can submit a two-minute video along with their application. Videos are not required but NC IDEA is encouraging entrepreneurs to consider the option. Videos can include elevator pitches, product demos, customer stories or other types of pitches that companies feel will help enhance their written application.

“We added the video element to the application in response to some suggestions from entrepreneurs, but mainly to give us another perspective when evaluating the applicants,” NC IDEA’s Grant Program Manager Andrea Cook said. “Past applicants that were named semi-finalists and invited to submit a full proposal have had the option to submit a video. This cycle we decided to introduce the video submission element earlier in the process and will determine if this is something we should continue in future cycles.”

NC IDEA’s grant program is open to those who have technologies that demonstrate potential become commercially viable, high-growth enterprises. Companies working on software, information technology, medical devices or material sciences are encouraged to apply.

Grant winners receive up to $50,000 per recipient that can be used for business plan research and development, reducing risk of early failure or advancing projects to a point where they can be evaluated by angel investors or venture capital firms for additional investment.

Besides providing grant funding, NC IDEA connects entrepreneurs to its network of business and technology partners who mentor and guide the grant recipients.

The fall cycle has two pre-proposal deadlines: an early deadline of Friday, Aug. 23 and a final deadline on Friday, Sept. 6. NC IDEA encourages applicants to submit their materials by the first deadline so they can benefit from an extended review period and the chance to advance to the proposal round under an early decision.

This latest grant cycle, NC IDEA’s sixteenth, opens on Aug. 12. In conjunction with this cycle, NC IDEA will host several information sessions to discuss the grant process and eligibility criteria. The sessions are as follows:

  • Thursday, August 8th – NC IDEA Fall 2013 Triad Info Session hosted by PTP NEXT
  • Wednesday, August 14th – NC IDEA Fall 2013 Info Session, via webinar
  • Friday, August 16th – NC IDEA Fall 2013 Charlotte Info Session hosted by Packard Place
  • August 20th – NC IDEA and Groundwork Labs “Brown Bag Lunch” Q&A Session