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NC Venture Capital Program

The American Rescue Plan Act 0f 2021 reauthorized and funded the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The new version of the SSBCI program provides a combined $10 billion to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and Tribal governments to empower small businesses to access capital needed to invest in job-creating opportunities as the country emerges from the pandemic. The funds will also support recipient jurisdictions in promoting American entrepreneurship and democratizing access to startup capital across the country, including in underserved communities.

The U.S. Treasury Department, through the North Carolina State Legislature’s 2022 budget, allocated nearly $202 million in federal funding to the Rural Center to support small businesses throughout the State. This allotment of State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding, will help small businesses through three programs: Loan Participation Program (LPP), Capital Access Program (CAP), and the NC Venture Capital Program.

 The NC Venture Capital Program, branded as NCInvest, is the part of the SSBCI program that supports early-stage, high-growth small businesses in North Carolina, primarily through equity investments. In 2022, North Carolina dedicated approximately $30 million to this program.

The NC Venture Capital Program will be partnering with venture capital funds, LPs and investors who are interested in participating in the program to support the distribution of funds to high-growth businesses in North Carolina. We are especially interested in investors who have a proven track record and/ or focus on supporting founders and business owners who come from traditionally under-represented groups in entrepreneurship and business ownership. This program’s goal is to invest at least 53% of the funds in small businesses, founders, or fund managers who qualify under the guidelines for Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals (SEDI) as defined by the Department of Treasury.

NC Venture Capital Program Details 

NCInvest, an initiative of the NC Rural Center, launched February 28 with an online and in-person event at Provident 1898 in Durham. During that event, program organizers, leaders and the investment community discussed this opportunity for founders, small businesses and investors.

If you were not able to join us at the launch event, a records of the event are available here. The videos include:

You can reference our recent press release and check out these articles in the Triangle Business Journal and WRAL TechWire for additional information.

For Investors: NC Venture Capital Program Details

Potential investor partners for NCInvest can start an application by filling out this short form. A request for proposals (RFP) has been released and includes program details, including deadlines. RFP applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and the first round will be closed May 5, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EST. The first announcement of fund partners will be made on June 30, 2023.

For Founders: NC Venture Capital Program Details 

NCInvest is set up as a fund of funds and does invest directly in businesses. Founders or small business owners interested in learning more about our venture partners handling direct investments should fill out this interest form. The information from interested founders will be shared with our venture partners once they are selected.

Why NCInvest: Small Businesses Face Barriers When Seeking Investment

Our state’s entrepreneurs need access to equity that goes beyond public dollars alone. NCInvest is a venture capital program designed to promote small business investing with existing investors that are integrated into the larger realm of economic development activity, which enables and promotes the growth of small businesses. These investors and entrepreneurial ecosystems go beyond public dollars and are vital to sustainability of individual communities and the state.

The Venture Program Solution

NCInvest is designed to create equity investment opportunities for startups throughout the state. By working with fund managers to infuse this capital into the marketplace, we are creating more jobs and enhancing the economic development opportunities in the communities where they operate.

This program launched on February 28, 2023. All questions regarding this program should be directed to ncinvest@ncruralcenter.org.