DURHAM – The entrepreneurial support organization and nonprofit NC IDEA has elected Peyton Anderson as chair of the organization’s board of directors, and elected three new directors, along with approving the organization’s annual budget, which NC IDEA said is nearly twice as large as is what is required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

“With new leadership came a historic new budget, the largest in the history of the organization,” said Thom Ruhe, president and CEO of NC IDEA, in an email.  “Staying true to a commitment made last year in the face of the devastating impact of COVID, the Board approved a budget equal to 10% of our net assets – double what is required by law.”

The funds will be allocated in order to expand North Carolina’s economic development efforts via entrepreneurship, said NC IDEA in a statement.  The organization will continue to emphasize its work to serve populations that have been historically under-served, including through the organization’s grant-making programs MICRO, SEED, ENGAGE, and ECOSYSTEM, all of which will have increased funding for the coming fiscal year compared to prior fiscal years.

The budget also includes a second tranche of $500,000 to be managed under the leadership of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council, or NC BEC, bringing the total to $1 million since its launch in August 2020.

The newly elected directors are Spencer Disher of Charlotte, Sonja Ebron of Durham and Jerry Edmonds, Ed.D. of Henderson.

“NC IDEA is fortunate to have a visionary board comprised of accomplished business leaders with the bold ambition to empower North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA.

“Our newest directors are distinguished members of the State’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and join the Board with direct experience of NC IDEA programs,” said Ruhe.  “Sonja as a SEED grant recipient and Spencer and Jerry as members of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council,” he added.

Peyton Anderson, newly elected board chair, has served on the organization’s board of directors for four years, and is CEO of Affinergy, a Duke spinout commercializing peptide linkers as coatings for medical devices. Previously, Peyton was founding CEO of SciQuest, Inc. and raised over $175 million in capital prior to the company’s IPO in 1999. Peyton currently serves on the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center and the NC Biosciences Organization. Previously, he served on the executive committee of the Board of Directors for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

Spencer Disher most recently served as Senior Vice President at Natixis SA, an international French banking institution. He was one of the founders and co-managers of Natixis ABM Corp, a subsidiary of Natixis SA which grew into a highly profitable entity with approximately $6 billion of fixed income assets under management.  Spencer is an adjunct instructor for entrepreneurship in the business college at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.  He also serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte and as a director for the Charlotte Angel Fund.  In addition, he serves as an advisor and investor to several startups and has worked as a mentor with RevTech, City Startup Labs, and Innovate Charlotte.

Sonja Ebron is a Durham native and founding CEO of Courtroom5, a 2018 NC IDEA SEED grant recipient that makes an automated legal toolbox for people in court without a lawyer.  She serves on the Legal Services Corporation’s Leaders Council and has represented herself in court for many years.  Sonja is a PhD electrical engineer and former college professor with a background in utilities and artificial intelligence.  As Courtroom5 CEO, Sonja has made it her personal mission to empower people to represent themselves effectively in court.

Jerry Edmonds III, Ed.D. serves as Vice President of Workforce and Community Engagement at Vance Granville Community College in Henderson, NC. Previously he served in varying roles as Dean of Workforce and Economic Development and Small Business Center Director at Halifax Community College in Weldon, NC.  He held a variety of executive leadership positions within Johnson & Johnson and IBM where he was the recipient of numerous training, recruitment, marketing and leadership awards.

“We are ready to jump into our new fiscal year funded and fearless, with an expanding network of partners that are helping us redefine what equitable economic development can be when envisioned through an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Ruhe.