Access to capital, particularly equity capital, is a major challenge for small businesses. To help address this issue, the SBTDC provides counseling assistance to growth companies seeking equity capital, offers educational programs for both qualified investors and growth company entrepreneurs, works with angel and venture capital funds, and serves as a statewide resource and connection to private equity investment. All of these efforts are designed to enhance the investment process between and among angels, VCs and entrepreneurs.
The SBTDC’s Becoming an Investor-Ready Entrepreneur™ prepares growth-oriented entrepreneurs to successfully engage private equity investors by learning what investors expect from the companies they fund. NC Angels: Investing Close to Home is designed to educate and prepare qualified investors with or without investment experience for the world of investing in early stage companies.
The SBTDC is also actively engaged in two equity capital initiatives. The first of these involves SBTDC support for six Inception Micro-Angel Funds across the state. These IMAF funds provide $50,000 to $125,000 in early seed stage capital (first money in) to emerging technology-based businesses. Funds are up and running in the Triad, West, East, and Coastal Piedmont regions, and funds for the Triangle and Coastal regions are under development.
The SBTDC also provides operational support for the NC Rural Center’s Rural Venture Fund (RVF). This fund provides equity and near-equity “patient” capital ($50,000-$350,000) targeted to existing businesses with the potential for growth and job creation in the 40 Tier I counties. The SBTDC is the intake resource for applicants to the RVF, vets the companies for funding consideration and provides customized services to companies receiving RVF investments.
The SBTDC has created the www.NCCapitalHighway.com website to provide critically needed infrastructure to efficiently engage the entrepreneur, investor, and entrepreneur support communities in both the private and public sectors.