Editor’s note: Thom Ruhe is CEO of the NC IDEA Foundation.

DURHAM – Less than 90 days ago, we announced our ambition to form the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council, the NC BEC. Since making the announcement, we had a public call for applications, formed the Council of 25 accomplished individuals, established governance protocols and formed various committees.

The NC BEC is now launching its inaugural grant program, to support and partner with organizations throughout the state doing inspired things to serve the entrepreneurial and economic potential of North Carolina’s Black community. NC BEC ECOSYSTEM is also designed to better understand how we may (collectively) support more Black people in their ambition to start and build growth-oriented companies that will strengthen the economy of North Carolina.

The formation of the Council is an expression of our values that more diverse and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems will be better for the entire community. When more people are engaged and have a vested economic interest in their communities, those communities tend to thrive and recover from challenges like we are currently experiencing.

We have been humbled by the interest in the NC BEC and are fortunate for the commitment of the accomplished council members who are generously giving of their time to guide this vital work. With this grant effort, we hope to amplify work deemed by the Council as an imperative to making North Carolina the best state in the nation for Black Founders.

If you know of organizations that should be considered, please feel free to share this note.

Black, Brown entrepreneuers face disproportionate hurdles – NC IDEA’s new council is here to help

NC IDEA’s $500K grant program supporting Black entrepreneurs to open October 5