Spark Grants

With the support of the Flywheel Foundation, the Cabarrus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship just wrapped up its first grant cycle of $5,000 Spark Grants offered to entrepreneurs located in or adding jobs to the county. The grants will help Founders test out ideas that can be commercialized successfully.

Over 21 companies applied and all will continue to benefit from the Cabarrus Center resources, coaching and curriculum. Two companies finished as runner-up and are still competing for the remaining grant funds. The Flywheel Foundation is allocating $25,000 from a Truist Bank corporate sponsorship to fund the first cohort of grant awards.

» Watch the winners’ pitch presentations:

2021 Grant Recipients

Battery Xchange | Founders: Aubrey Yeboah and Desmond Wiggan

Battery Xchange has designed an eco-friendly charging kiosk that acts as a rental-on-demand charger station where patrons can check out the portable charger for their mobile electronic devices that patrons can utilize on the go convenience using our mobile application. Their solution also allows businesses to interact and engage with their customers using our digital screens.

“For us, the Spark Grant was much more than just funds needed as an early-stage company. The value we found was in the community support. Being able to land warehouse space was extremely important at this point because our business is beginning to ramp up with more, and more new kiosk placements. Community is extremely important to us. Having an opportunity to bring our kiosk to the Cabarrus/Kannapolis community is a great way for us to share our value in helping people Live Life Charged!” – Desmond Wiggan, Battery Xchange Co-Founder

Cellular Farms | Founders: Arash Amini and Steven Lewis

Cellular Farms is developing a bio manufacturing vertical farm to produce plant extracts for the food and beverage industry at the NCRC Food Innovation lab and will be HQ’d at the Cabarrus Center.

“We are excited to be part of the fantastic changes that are happening at the North Carolina Research Campus. The Spark Grant will provide funding enabling Cellular Farms to work more closely with others on the campus to make an impact on health and nutrition throughout the world.” – Steven Lewis, Co-Founder of Cellular Farms

Groopwork | Founder: Adrian Marable

Groopwork is building a platform for cohort based study groups for professional development certification. The GroopED program places like-minded people into study accountability cohorts of 3-5 people, provides them the study plan, workbooks, and virtual learning community to group study with one another, and hold one another accountable for a unique learning experience.

“The Spark Grant Program is not only refreshing for Cabarrus County but it’s helping build a community of entrepreneurs that would normally look to the Charlotte business community for similar programs and support. Programs like this will drive innovation and jobs into our community in a way we haven’t seen before. I’m proud to be part of the inaugural class from Concord. I look forward to building a strong collaborative relationship with the Cabarrus Center and appreciate their support as I work to grow my business.” – Adrian Marable, Groopwork

SERV | Founder: LaTika Mercer

SERV is an incubator shared space concept for entrepreneurs wanting to enter the stylist industry. She wants to begin to scale her successful concept in Charlotte to Cabarrus County. Her focus is on educating the Youth in the Black/ BIPPOC community on how to conduct themselves in business by providing the tools to become business owners through coaching, shadowing, seminars, hands-on learning and exposure to proven systems; touring successful business/work environments. Seminars and classes promote a positive mindset, encouraging good daily habits and life skills, finances/budgeting, respect and decorum, goal setting and focused learning for successful outcomes.

“This has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. I am thankful for the Udacity Course, Flywheel CoWorking and The Cabarrus Spark Grant! My business partner Connie and I (Often referred to as the Dynamic Duo) are looking forward to celebrating the grand opening of SERV Salon Suites and Career Coaching in this area! We are Surely a step closer to setting a New Economic Standard in Cabarrus County.” – LaTika Mercer, Lucky You Salon and Suites

Spark Grants for Cabarrus County logo

The Spark Grant Application status is CLOSED.

Cabarrus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is offering $5,000 Spark Grants to entrepreneurs located in or adding jobs in Cabarrus County and surrounding communities to help them test ideas that can be commercialized successfully. Entrepreneurs receiving grants will be offered use of the coworking space in the Cabarrus Center at no charge for 6 months.

The Spark Grants are offered through the Flywheel Foundation, whose mission is to promote early- and growth-stage entrepreneurship in the markets served by Flywheel’s innovation centers. Funding for the grant program is coming from a title corporate sponsorship by Truist bank, with matching funds from the Foundation.

Qualified Applicants:

You can apply at the link below. Applications will be taken through midnight January 31, 2021. In order to qualify for a Spark Grant, you must:

  • Be a resident of Cabarrus County or a surrounding county.
  • Have an idea that solves a problem that makes an impact in the community or the market served
  • If you are a company, you must be pre-revenue or early stage.
  • Commit to utilizing the Cabarrus Center as a resource to help accelerate your business.
  • Be committed to launching a company if your idea proves out.
  • Enroll in the virtual “Applied Lean Startup Practices Course” by January 31, 2021. The instructor-led or self-directed course begins on February 2, 2021.

 

Selection Criteria:

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee of program partners on the Cabarrus Center’s Entrepreneurship Council, and up to five top ideas will receive grant awards. Grant awards will be made on or before February 28, 2021. Selection criteria include:

  • Creativity and innovation of the idea
  • Ability to distinguish this entrepreneur’s idea from others on the market
  • The overall strength and quality of team
  • Knowledge of market
  • Clarity of problem statement
  • Market fit of the proposed solution
  • A rating of the viability of the idea (product/service/technology)
  • Total viable market and estimated market share of target market
  • Commercialization plan and business model
  • Potential revenue, capitalization requirements, and financing plans
  • Overall assessment of the opportunity

Have Questions?

Still have questions about the Spark Grant? Click the button below for our frequently asked questions. 

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