Four Local Startups Advance In Statewide Entrepreneurship Grant Cycle

By Johanna Cano, posted Mar 28, 2022
Four Wilmington startups are moving forward in the latest round of the NC IDEA SEED Grant Cycle, according to a press release.

Cicil, Coyle Solar, Essential Personnel and Kind Cultures are among 24 semi-finalists in the spring cycle of the grant, which aims to support entrepreneurial endeavors in the state.

“The incredible range of geography and founder demographics of all SEED applicants translated into one of the most diverse groups of semi-finalists in the 16-year history of the program,” Thom Ruhe, president and CEO of NC IDEA said in the release. “It never gets easier to narrow down the field of competitive contenders, but we look forward to learning more about the group that is moving forward to the next phase.”

Details on the Wilmington semi-finalists:

CICIL is a rug manufacturer that focuses on using natural and renewable materials. According to its website, its founders are textile industry veterans who – after years of working with complex, carbon-intensive global supply chains – wanted to provide a more sustainable option for the natural fiber industry.

Coyle Solar is an energy company that produces portable solar power generators that can be used in homes, RVs and job sites. Different models are available, including the CM6 model, which is a mobile, modular power generator with a water purification station. According to the company’s website, it produced its first model of solar generators in 2015 and as of 2021, it has sold enough units to scale its operations nationwide.

Essential Personnel has developed software for managing public safety professionals. The software includes EP Performs for performance management; EP Safety & Wellness to track critical incidents, injuries and exposures as well as providing support resources and EP Academy, which provides flexible training and data reporting for information on completion of training.

Kind Cultures is a business creating artisanal vegan cheeses that are handmade in small batches in Wilmington. The company focuses on cheese that is cruelty-free, cultured, accessible and sustainable. The company’s current selection ranges from hickory-smoked cheddar to a dill spread and its products are available locally in stores.

Winners receive $50,000 in grants with the goal to “support business activities that validate target markets, reduce risk associated with early-stage companies and help companies get to the point of suitability for growth,” the release stated.

All semi-finalists will submit a full proposal in early April with finalists selected to present before a panel of investors, industry experts and entrepreneurs. Grant recipients will be announced in mid-May.
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