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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
Funding Opportunities Background

Office of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship (OIE)

East Carolina University


Greenville, NC

Project Name

eNC Innovates!



Award Amount


East Carolina University’s (ECU) Office of Innovation and Economic Development’s primary service area includes 31 counties in eastern NC. The region is largely impoverished with an average 24­month unemployment rate of 6.76 perent (U.S. = 5.46 percent) and 2014 per capita personal income of $36,746 (U.S. = $40,049). Also the social and economic context are found to be distressed. The median age is 41.6 years (U.S. = 37.4 years), and some attribute the higher median age to the exodus of young, talented workers seeking employment in other regions. The non-white population is 35.3 percent (U.S. = 26.2 percent). The population percentages with a bachelor’s and graduate or professional degree are 12.7 percent (U.S. =18.3 percent) and 6.1 percent (U.S. = 11.0 percent), respectively.

The objective of eNC Innovates! (eNC-I), is to accelerate and expand commercialization leading to a broader innovation/technology ecosystem that 1) roadmaps the science, technology and innovation needs of advanced manufacturing organizations (industrial and military) with the intent to rapidly advance Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) and Manufacturing Readiness Levels (MRLs), and 2) encourages, supports and fosters entrepreneurship and new business/venture creation. The Project will utilize a proof-of-concept program to accelerate the evaluation of very early-stage innovations and IP, match the IP opportunities to advanced manufacturers and entrepreneurs, rapidly innovate and commercialize new products and processes, and increase the success rate of new ventures based upon the innovations and commercialization of new and existing IP. The Project is a creative transformation of the Region and is designed to deliver measurable results.


  • Available inventory of IP and product ideas
  • Successful, rapid advancement of very early stage innovations, ideas and IP
  • Launch new solutions and products
  • New entrepreneurial ventures
  • Development of emerging innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Regional innovation and entrepreneurial events
  • Retention and attraction of entrepreneurs to the Region
  • Wealth & Job Creation
  • Cultural change