WRAL TechWire earlier today published an appreciation of veteran entrepreneur, investor and economic development leader Dave Rizzo. His role in entrepreneurship dates back some two decades. Here are two stories from WRAL TechWire’s archives that help put Rizzo’s accomplishments in perspective.

  • The launch of NC IDEA in 2005:

PINEHURST – Saying it was broadening support of the entrepreneurial community across North Carolina, MCNC Ventures formally announced a company restructuring and rebranding to North Carolina Innovative Development for Economic Advancement.

The NC IDEA concept was outlined by Dave Rizzo, the firm’s chief executive officer, as the Venture 2005 conference put on by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development opened its two-day run in Pinehurst.

The company’s new identity is focused on a renewed commitment to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in NC, Rizzo said. The organization will now provide grants, loans and traditional venture capital to early-stage technology companies based in NC.

Further support will be given to portfolio companies through partnerships with key players in the entrepreneurial community, he added.

“The partnerships we’ve established and can leverage are one way NC IDEA is distinctively different from a traditional venture firm,” Rizzo explained. “NC IDEA’s mission is to ensure innovation and success by infusing North Carolina’s entrepreneurial companies with needed capital and support-these alliances allow us to further this mission by providing our portfolio companies with an expansive resource network.”

MCNC recently sold off its MCNC research and development group to RTI.

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  • Dave Rizzo takes over as CEO of MCNC, 2002

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Charlotte entrepreneur Dave Rizzo has been selected as president and chief executive of MCNC and will be responsible for leading the nonprofit research center through a major restructuring.

Rizzo, who sold his applications integration company, Osprey Systems, in March, also is chairman of the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technologies Association.

After 22 years as a catch-all research center, MCNC is splitting into two units: One will provide computing services and the other will conduct research and development work into fields like electronics.

Following the split, Rizzo will head the R&D operation and MCNC Vice President Thom Dunning, who currently heads the supercomputing center, will lead that operation.

Rizzo tells Local Tech Wire that he was attracted to the MCNC job because of its technology bent, venture capital capability and mission to create cutting-edge companies and jobs in the state.

“No other place in North Carolina can you do all three things,” he says.

Rizzo is buying a house in Chapel Hill but will retain his home in Charlotte for a few years until his children complete high school.

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