Special Report. November 1, 2018 BOONE, NC — Startup High Country is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the NC IDEA Foundation. Given through the NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant program, this grant is designed to help further develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the High Country and is a signal of the potential and momentum building in the Boone and Blowing Rock area.
Our partnership with Startup High Country allows us to create greater opportunity for the statewide exchange of ideas, experiences and connections between the mountains and the coast of North Carolina, said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We look forward to our collaboration,” Ruhe added.
Startup High Country will use the grant to further their accelerator, Velocity Labs, and promote their mission to create more high-tech (high-paying) jobs and more growth investment opportunities for the residents of the high country. With the support the grant and local partners like Watauga EDC and ECRS offer, Startup High Country will run the Velocity Labs program over the next three years with two cohorts per year.
Launched in September 2018, Velocity Labs is an accelerator focused on early-stage high-growth companies. Aimed at supercharging startups, Velocity Labs builds connections with investors and founders, drives meaningful education, and provides access to successful and experienced mentors in a 12-week program. Seven local companies joined the first cohort. The experience at Velocity Labs not only increases a business’ chance of survival but also helps them thrive by providing the support they need to grow their businesses faster. Through the program, early-stage companies examine customer development, product development, operations, sales, and marketing. Another major focus of Velocity Labs is leadership development, a unique addition that isn’t found in similar programs.
“Startups face a number of challenges while building a viable business,” says Jeffrey Scott, Velocity Labs Director, “At Velocity Labs we help founders understand that they are really a temporary organization in search of repeatable, scalable and profitable business models. What is the big problem they trying to solve and for whom? Is the opportunity worth the investment of millions of dollars and years of work? These are tough questions founders must answer first before the business plan is written, money raised and the business grown. We help them put first things first and validate their business model early on to increase their likelihood of success as a high growth company in the High Country.”
In order to support a thriving startup ecosystem, entrepreneurs need support in the form of capital, connections, and education. Over the last four years, Startup High Country has been a key player in the work to transform the economic trajectory of the area. They formed the High Country Impact Fund, the first-ever angel fund in the high country, created the first area accelerator with Velocity Labs, and through their Silicon Hollar events connect coders, entrepreneurs, and investors at networking events, workshops, and panels.
About Startup High Country
Our mission is to create more high-tech (high-paying) jobs and more growth investment opportunities for the residents of the High Country. We’re doing this by investing time, expertise, fresh ideas and money into existing and new startups. Startup High Country created the High Country Impact Fund, the first-ever angel fund in the high country, launched the first area accelerator with Velocity Labs, and through their Silicon Hollar events connect coders, entrepreneurs, and investors at networking events, workshops, and panels.
About NC IDEA Foundation
NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina. Today, the organization fulfills this mission through a strategic combination of competitive grants and programs, including NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM. NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM funds organizations across the state that execute creative programs to support entrepreneurs. The program fosters relationships, cooperation, dialog and learning between partners across the state, while better understanding how to collectively support more people in their ambition to start and grow the companies that will strengthen the economy of North Carolina. Learn more about NC IDEA at www.ncidea.org.
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