A funding guide for entrepreneurial and small business research and development funding information, resources, and services for UNC-Chapel Hill researchers and other community-based innovators.
For Research and Development Entrepreneurship at UNC-Chapel Hill
If you are a UNC-Chapel Hill faculty or staff member working with a spin-off company or small business, the following university offices are available to assist you in your search for funding for entrepreneurial or small business research and development.
- Office of Technology Development facilitates commercialization of University research through protection and licensing of intellectual property and innovations developed by Carolina researchers. OTD provides education, mentoring and intellectual property management for entrepreneurial faculty and assists in managing intellectual property obligations in corporate sponsored research and licensing partnerships.
- Starting a Company: OTD information for entrepreneurs interested in starting a company based on UNC-Chapel Hill technology.
- The Center for Sustainable Enterprise offers objective research and analysis, strategic planning and engagement support that helps community leaders and their businesses create sustainable economic future.
- Office of Commercialization and Economic Development KickStart Award Program provides business and technical expertise to university start-up companies in translational and clinical sciences and facilitates the commercialization of the intellectual property developed by North Carolina’s public universities.
For All North Carolina Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
North Carolina Funding Information, Services, and Resources:
- Business Link NC provides access to an array of programs and services available to support NC businesses.
- Council for Entrepreneurial Development provides education, mentoring, and capital formation resources to new and existing high-growth entrepreneurs through training programs on entrepreneurial management and finance.
- National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers scholarships for continuing education and grants to help established businesses.
- NC OpenBudget lists NC state government grant and financial assistance programs and awards made. Search by granting agency, recipient, program, and location of the recipient.
- NC Biotechnology Center supports biotechnology research, business, and education and works to strengthen the research capabilities of the state’s companies and universities. Its resources include:
- Funding Gateway, a one-stop shop for biotechnology funding information.
- NC Biotech Center’s funding programs for research, education, technology development, business, event support, regional development, and grant training.
- NC Small Business and Technology Development Center provides management counseling and educational services to small and mid-sized businesses throughout NC.
- NC Small Business Guide provides access to federal, state, and local information that helps business owners successfully start and operate while staying compliant with laws and regulations.
- One NC Small Business Program reimburses qualified NC businesses for a portion of the costs incurred in preparing and submitting Phase I Proposals to the Federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program.
- Small Business Administration (SBA), NC District Office, is responsible for the delivery of SBA programs and services to all 100 counties in NC.
- NC Small Business Guide provides a summary of important information about how to start a business.
- Small Business Center Network provides resources and services for existing and prospective business owners in NC.
- The Institute is a nonprofit management consulting and services firm focused on business diversity and provides counseling for current or aspiring minority and women business owners and training on various business-related topics.
- Construction bid opportunities give a continuously updated list of NC state and local bidding opportunities.
Federal Funding Information, Services, and Resources:
- Grants.gov is the central source to find and apply for federal grants. You can search by “eligibility type” for small business funding, or set up an email subscription to receive alerts of new opportunities.
- FedBizOpps lists all federal contracting opportunities that exceed $25,000, including major solicitations, contract awards, subcontracting opportunities, and other procurement information.
- Small Business Innovation Research lists SBIR/STTR solicitations, federal agencies that have SBIR/STTR programs, and where to find help in NC and other states.
- SBIR/STTR Links for Federal Agencies includes small business resources and opportunities from National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health, and the departments of commerce, defense, education, energy, and other federal agencies.
- U.S. Small Business Administration, along with various lending partners, offers a number of financial loan programs addressing the needs of small businesses. (Note: The SBA does not offer grants to start or expand small businesses. Those grant programs that SBA does offer are primarily designed to expand and enhance organizations that provide small business management, technical, or financial assistance.)
- Your U.S. Senator or Congressman’s office can be a good source of information and help in exploring contracting opportunities with the federal government.
- Senator Richard Burr’s website about constituent services regarding federal grants.
- Senator Thom Tillis’ casework online request form for constituent services and help navigating the complex federal agency system.
- All North Carolina U.S. House of Representatives members, with links to members’ web sites. The following have information specifically about federal funding:
- Representative David Price from NC 4th District, with information about grants and federal domestic assistance.
- Representative Alma Adams from NC 12th District, with a casework online request form and an e-newsletter.
Foundation Funding Information, Services, and Resources:
Although most foundations do not fund for-profit entities, a few do. A good place to search for foundation funding is your local public library, which likely has resources on starting and maintaining a business, usually in the business section, reference, or non-fiction sections. Some suggestions for looking up these resources include searching under terms like entrepreneur, small business, and management.
The Foundation Center, a national nonprofit services organization, has some useful resources such as:
- “Where can I find funding to start a business?” from Foundation Center FAQs
- Foundation Center Network Locations: U.S. public libraries which have Foundation Center collections and funding databases
Program-related investments (PRIs), most commonly loans to for-profit or nonprofit entities for purposes closely related to a foundation’s funding interests, are offered by a small number of foundations. For more information see:
- What is a program-related investment? from Grantspace
- Answers to Some Frequently Asked Questions about PRIs (pdf) from the Grantsmanship Center
- Faculty Expertise at UNC-Chapel Hill and elsewhere. Search iBridge Network, Carolina’s Research Abstracts Database, and other databases to identify university innovators, potential collaborators, and other expertise.
- Funding for Business and Economic Development, by Michigan State University Libraries.
- Funding for Farm or Rural Development, by Michigan State University Libraries