Thom Ruhe is President and CEO of NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to helping people in North Carolina realize their full entrepreneurial potential. He is an entrepreneur, investor, mentor, philanthropist and works with entrepreneurs, governments, universities, and NGOs around the world to embrace the entrepreneurial mindset needed to grow vibrant economies.
Thom spent the first 20 years of his professional life in a variety of startups and growth companies, and the last 15 years helping others do likewise. During his seven-year tenure at the Kauffman Foundation, he directed the Foundation’s programs addressing entrepreneurial education, mentoring, access to capital and fostering entrepreneurial ecosystems – core priorities in his current capacity at NC IDEA.
He has served on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Entrepreneurship, and currently serves on the board of Advisors for the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina and on the Governor’s Entrepreneurship Council.