DURHAM, N.C. – NC IDEA announced Monday that the organization’s 18th grant cycle will open on Aug. 11.

The upcoming cycle will kick-off with a series of information sessions being held throughout North Carolina, according to the organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina.

Interested applicants may attend any of the five information sessions being held in-person and via webinar. Interested parties can confirm their attendance at any of these sessions by visiting www.ncidea.org.

The following locations have been scheduled:

• Thursday, July 31: NC IDEA Fall 2014 Charlotte Info Session hosted by Packard Place
• Monday, Aug. 11: NC IDEA Fall 2014 Info Session via Webinar
• Tuesday, Aug. 12: NC IDEA Fall 2014 Triad Info Session hosted with Flywheel
• Thursday, Aug. 14: NC IDEA Fall 2014 Wilmington Info Session hosted by UNCW
• Friday, Aug. 15: NC IDEA and Groundwork Labs “Brown Bag Lunch” Q&A Session

The information sessions are aimed at giving interested applicants an overview of NC IDEA’s grant process and criteria; helping to explain how to apply for a grant, what NC IDEA looks for in an application and what types of companies are eligible. In these sessions, participants will also gain insight from previous grant winners on their experiences with the application process and what they have or will accomplish with the grant money.

Companies focused on software, information technology, medical devices or material sciences are encouraged to apply.

There are two pre-proposal deadlines for the fall cycle: an early deadline on Friday, Aug. 22 and a final deadline on Friday, Sept. 5.

NC IDEA’s grant program has been a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment.

In addition to the funding, NC IDEA and its network of seasoned business and technology partners mentor and guide the grant recipients through the complex growth cycles of young companies, while also connecting the startups with other investors, institutions and business leaders to maximize their prospects for commercial success.

Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA’s grant program has awarded more than $3.4 million to 88 companies across the state.