Biotechnology Venture Challenge Applications Open

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Feb 9, 2024

The 2024 N.C. Biotech Venture Challenge started taking applications last week and is open to biotechnology startups throughout Southeastern North Carolina.

The challenge began in Wilmington in 2020 and provides a platform for startups to pitch their companies and participate in a two-month mentoring period. First, there is a regional competition, where startups from the state’s southeastern, eastern, and western regions, the greater Charlotte area and Piedmont Triad have separate contests. First prize is $20,000, and the two runners-up receive $10,000 each.

Winners receive non-dilutive funding or an investment that does not require equity in the company. This is advantageous to startup founders looking for capital without selling portions of their young company to investors, said Randall Johnson, executive director of N.C. Biotech’s Southeastern office.

Once judges choose three winners from each of the five regional competitions, all vie for a $100,000 pot. In total, $300,000 of non-dilutive funding goes to 15 N.C. companies.

Applications for the southeastern regional contest opened Feb. 1 and will close Feb. 29 at 5 p.m.

Applicants must be life sciences or biotech-related and have a physical presence in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Hoke, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson or Scotland counties.

The mentoring period will begin in March and continue through May. 

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