November 7, 2018

NC IDEA FOUNDATION to Launch Ice House Entrepreneurship Program Statewide

Seeking Launch Partners for Entrepreneurial Mindset Training This December

DURHAM, NC – November 7, 2018 – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that the organization is supporting a statewide rollout of the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP) and seeking launch partners who want to offer entrepreneurial mindset programming to their constituents.

The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program (IHEP) is an experiential, problem-based program designed to inspire and engage learners in the fundamental aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset while immersing them in entrepreneurial experiences that will enable them to develop creativity and critical thinking, effective problem-solving, teamwork and other entrepreneurial skills – skills that will enable them to succeed regardless of their chosen path. Created by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI), the program can be delivered in several formats: online or classroom, boot camp, multi-week, or as a semester class. It does not require that the instructor is a subject matter expert but rather a facilitator – the materials provide the expertise.

NC IDEA has audacious goals: one of them is to expose 100,000 North Carolinians to entrepreneurship by 2025,” said Thom Ruhe, President and CEO of NC IDEA. “We cannot do this alone, and are seeking partners who want to help us empower as many people as possible with an entrepreneurial mindset,” Ruhe concluded.

NC IDEA is hosting the three-day Ice House Facilitator Training for partners interested in offering the course to their constituents on December 12-14, 2008, at a location (TBD) in the Durham-Raleigh area. These partners will likely be entrepreneurially-minded organizations drawn from educational institutions (particularly community colleges), entrepreneurial support organizations, economic development organizations, CDFIs, or government entities. Organizations with demonstratable intent and capacity to offer the program to individuals broadly will be given priority consideration. Because seating is limited, we will be admitting facilitators through an application process. NC IDEA will pay the training costs, and participants will only have travel-related expenses. To learn more and apply to become an Ice House Launch Partner, visit The deadline to apply is December 1st.

NC IDEA supported Ice House Entrepreneurship Programs will be launching in the first quarter of 2019. Learn more about the powerful curriculum at


NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic advancement in North Carolina. Today, the organization fulfills this mission through a strategic combination of competitive grants and programs. NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM funds organizations across the state that execute creative programs to support entrepreneurs. Similarly, NC IDEA ENGAGE is a community-focused grant program supporting individuals and organizations that facilitate entrepreneurship activity. Over the last decade, the NC IDEA SEED program has awarded over $5.5 million in non-dilutive grants to 131 growth-oriented companies across the state and most recently awarded nearly $150,000 in 15 micro-grants through a pilot program. Since 2011, over 150 companies have participated in NC IDEA LABS, formerly Groundwork Labs, to guide founders in developing an idea or product. NC IDEA SOAR, a program founded in 2012, supports female entrepreneurs leading scalable businesses in raising capital through mentorship, strategic advice, and connections. NC IDEA LEAD, the Foundation’s newest program, provides leadership training for founders of high-growth companies. Learn more at