RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – With support from local partners, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center launched an innovation-focused contest called the NC BIONEER Venture  Challenge to help entrepreneurs thrive in a flourishing life sciences sector.

Building on a successful pilot project held in Wilmington in 2020, the original BIONEER competition offered $20,000 in awards to winning enterprises statewide. Funds from this program help startups promote their brand, attract talent and increase product output while building relationships with industry experts and mentors.

The program is currently accepting applications until Feb. 25 from startups in life sciences-related fields, including agriculture, bioenergy, advanced materials, industrial biotech, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, and more. To be eligible to compete, applicants must own and operate a facility in a county represented by NCBiotech’s offices in the Greater Charlotte region, Western region (Asheville), Piedmont Triad region (Winston-Salem), Eastern region (Greenville), and Southeastern region (Wilmington).

After the application deadline, a team of reviewers will select finalists from each of the five regional challenges. Finalists will be notified on March 10.

In addition to financial awards, finalists will participate in two months of mentoring sessions and numerous networking events to help strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Individuals interested in serving as mentors may apply online.

Mentoring sessions will run from March 17 to May 19. Winners of the regional challenges will advance to the state-level challenge, benefiting from additional mentoring opportunities throughout June and receiving continued research support from NCBiotech’s Life Science Intelligence team.

For additional information, contact ncbioneer@ncbiotech.org.

(C) N.C. Biotech Center