A Wilmington-area company is one of seven grant recipients of the NC IDEA SEED program.
myBeeHyve is receiving a $25,000 grant through NC IDEA SEED, which aims to support a variety of activities for the growth of nascent firms, according to a news release.
NC IDEA SEED is a catalyst for startup businesses developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises, officials said in the release.
In addition to providing funding for the selected firms, the grant recipients also benefit from mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and experienced investors; in-kind services from attorneys, accountants and marketing consultants; public recognition; and access to growth capital, according to NC IDEA.
“We are excited to award myBeeHyve a $25K grant. We know this will be impactful for the company and will help move the needle for them,” said Andrea Cook, director at NC IDEA, in an email Thursday.
myBeeHyve offers a contact management system built to address the needs of the growing network marketing industry, officials said.
Jennifer Turnage, co-founder and CEO of myBeeHyve, said Thursday that the grant is going to allow the company to "move even faster" and complete the development of a new "companion app." She added that the companion app, once complete, aims to be visible in Apple and Android app stores.
Turnage and Megan Sumrell, co-founder and COO of myBeeHyve, started the company just over a year ago and launched its product to the public in August 2017, Turnage said.
The new app in development is “very close to being finished,” Turnage said. “The grant will help [us with] completion of the app and jump right into adding the next round of new features.”
Those additional features, she said will be determined based on user feedback from the launch of the app, which Turnage hopes will take place in a few weeks.
“It is just so exciting …because I think it's tremendous support. And it allows us to make the investment we really couldn’t make on our own,” Turnage said of the grant. “This allows us to do multiple things and grow the business as quickly as we can. It's great to be recognized for the potential of the business and for us as entrepreneurs.”
According to Turnage, the company has over 3,000 user accounts with people from seven different countries representing over 125 different marketing brands.
With a solution for over 20 million network marketers in the nation and more than 103 million network marketers globally, myBeeHyve "is perfectly positioned at the intersection of network marketing, social commerce and empowerment of women entrepreneurs," NC IDEA officials said in the release.
Last week, NC IDEA also named myBeeHyve one of eight female-led startups selected for its 2018 NC IDEA SOAR
And in February, the two co-founders published their first book Honey, You Got This!: Technology Made Easy for Network Marketers.
“It’s on Amazon. It’s a great way for us to share ideas and tips and what we have learned along the way with other women entrepreneurs in network marketing,” Turnage said of the book.
For myBeeHyve, Turnage said the company will focus future efforts on "making the product as strong as possible, having absolutely delighted users in our community, and growing our revenue stream and customer base."
Other recipients of the NC IDEA SEED grant are Elite HRV in Asheville, Freeman Capital in Charlotte, Glean LLC in Snow Hill, SalesSync LLC in Cary and VitalFlo Inc. in Raleigh. Five of the companies are receiving $50,000 seed grants and two are receiving $25,000 seed grants, officials said.
The seven grant recipients were chosen from the 12 finalists that had been selected out of a record-breaking 185 submissions, according to NC IDEA SEED.
"This grant cycle translated to the most geographically diverse applicant pool since the program’s inception, and for the first time, more than half of the submissions came from outside of the Triangle region, with one-third of North Carolina’s 100 counties represented. Five of the seven grant recipients are from outside of the Triangle region, surpassing the overall geographic span of submissions," officials said in the release.
“This newest cohort of NC IDEA SEED grant recipients is a great representation of the expansion of entrepreneurship across the state,” Thom Ruhe, president and CEO of NC IDEA, said in the release, adding that the seven companies illustrate the “vibrancy of entrepreneurial interests and are positioned to quickly grow, create jobs and positively impact the state’s economy.”
NC IDEA is a private foundation that supports entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina. Since its inception in 2006, the NC IDEA SEED program has awarded over $5.5 million in non-dilutive grants to 132 innovative companies across the state, with these most recent awards being the 25th cycle of the program, officials said in the release.