Welcome to the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, for Biotech Pioneers bringing life sciences innovations to the marketplace in North Carolina.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office has launched this life-sciences-based, innovation-focused venture challenge for Southeastern North Carolina, with lead partner UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, to raise the profile, increase the volume, and enhance the success of life science commercialization, entrepreneurs, and companies in the region.


The NC BIONEER Venture Challenge benefits for the selected finalists include the following:
  • A 2-month period of intense mentoring assistance and networking opportunities.
  • Public and private networking and educational events to enhance our connected networks of entrepreneurs, investors, and others in the region and beyond, especially as they relate to biotech innovation and commercialization.
  • Targeted assistance from the NC Biotechnology Center Life Science Intelligence team--e.g., industry and market research.
  • A pitch challenge at the end of the assistance process, which will yield significant monetary awards, in addition to the invaluable mentoring and networking each venture will experience during the assistance phase.
  • Monetary Awards Totaling $40,000: Top Award, $20,000; Second Award, $10,000; Third and Fourth Awards, $5,000 each.
  • UNCW CIE Tenancy: For the venture winning the top award, UNC Wilmington will offer a one year co-working tenancy at the UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This benefit includes 24-hour card-key access for two members of the winning team to use the co-working space, meeting rooms, equipment, mail services, and media team (additional per-project costs may apply).
  • Promotion in the region and beyond of our impressive community of biotech innovators, entrepreneurs, and ventures.

Application Period

February 4 – February 28, 5:00 pm

Mentoring, Networking, and Awards Events

Because building professional networks to strengthen our entrepreneurial ecosystem is critical to venture success, selected finalists and mentors will be expected to attend the following events, to be held in Wilmington, NC: 
  • March 5, 2020 Kickoff Event (All applicants, mentors, presenters, others)
  • March 12, 2020 Notifications to Selected Candidates

Assistance Period: Mar–May 2020

  • March 19, 2020 Networking and Mentoring Session #1
  • April 16, 2020 Networking and Mentoring Session #2
  • May 14, 2020 Networking and Mentoring Session #3
  • May 18, 2020 Judging Phase (Private meeting with pitches to judges)
  • May 19, 2020 Pitch Competition (Public event)

(*Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Coastal Entrepreneur Awards is May 21, 2020)


To be considered for the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • Physical presence in one of the following Southeastern NC counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Cumberland, Duplin, Hoke, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland.
  • Life Sciences/Biotech-related business ventures, including ventures that support life sciences and biotech through equipment, technology platforms, and software applications. For example, ventures may be related to a broad range of biotech-related innovations and applications including agriculture, bioenergy, health, advanced materials, industrial biotech, technology, or marine biotech.

How To Apply

Step One:

Before beginning the application, download and review the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge INSTRUCTIONS PDF for details on completing the application.

Step Two:

Because the online application does NOT allow you to save a partially completed application, we suggest you use the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge APPLICATION TEMPLATE DOC to enter your answers at your convenience and then to copy-and-paste your completed answers to the appropriate sections in the online application form, when ready to submit your application.

Step Three:

Applications must be completed and submitted online via the following link, NC BIONEER Venture Challenge APPLICATION FORM, no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on February 28, 2020.

An expert panel of reviewers will select finalists to participate in the mentoring assistance process, which begins March 19, 2020 and the pitch competition in May 2020.

To APPLY to be a MENTOR for the challenge, complete the application at NC BIONEER Venture Challenge Mentor Application.

For questions or issues, please contact Deb Mosca at Deb@NCBIONEER.com

Lead Partners

Supporting Partners

© 2020 North Carolina Biotechnology Center. All rights reserved.