A young Wilmington company has received a $50,000 NC IDEA SEED grant, the Durham-based foundation announced Friday. Renaissance Fiber, which makes fabric from industrial hemp, was among six North Carolina startups that received the grants.
“We are a North Carolina company focusing on the production of high-quality fiber from industrial hemp. The US textile industry is growing again, and we are humbled to be a part of its revitalization,” the company states on its website. “Our material is suitable for a wide range of applications including textile, paper and composites. Renaissance Fiber contracts growers and can meet specific buyer requirements.”
Renaissance Fibers has two locations in the state: Wilmington and Yadkinville.
NC IDEA is a private foundation whose mission is to maximize the economic potential of North Carolina residents by supporting and nurturing high-growth entrepreneurial ventures in the state.
These six SEED grants bring the total number awarded to 142, for a total of $6 million.
“NC IDEA SEED offers early-stage companies the critical funding they need to scale faster,” officials stated in the release. "Our $50,000 grants are awarded to innovative startups with a proven concept — even if they are not yet profitable. The funds, along with mentorship and guidance, push companies forward and reduce risk associated with growing startups.
“In the grand scheme of a statewide economic development effort, $6M is a drop in the bucket," the release continued. "But for the 142 companies that have received this money, very early and when other traditional sources of capital won’t consider funding a young company, it is critical fuel for growth.”
SEED grants have been used for a variety of purposes, “but generally for validating critical assumptions of the business,” the release added.