RALEIGH (February 3, 2014) – The NC School of Science & Mathematics beat out finalists that took the NC Spaces for Innovation Challenge following vote tallies in a competition sponsored by the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI).  A total of 23 organizations and individuals entered.

“The voters have spoken!” said Anita Brown-Graham, Director of IEI. “I’m so proud of everyone who entered the challenge. It just proves the spirit of preparing for the future and entrepreneurship is alive and stronger than ever in our great state.”

The Spaces competition is designed to promote both the state’s startup culture and communities and help boost idea sharing and economic development.

Online voting took place Jan. 19-30. The finalists created a short, two- to three-minute video describing their Space for Innovation.


NC School of Science & Mathematics (NCSSM): “Its Online Program, a first of its kind model, provides promising students the opportunity to concentrate on STEM courses and join a cohort of statewide innovators while continuing to attend their local school”  (WINNER)

(ASHEVILLE) The Collider – Accelerating Climate Biz: Development of a 26,000 sqft entrepreneur collaboration center also housing expansion of National Climatic Data Center.

Durham Innovation District: The Next Step: “…or Durham.ID – achieves a first for North Carolina: situating a world-class life sciences research and technology hub amid a vibrant downtown while also being directly connected to a major university.”

HQ Raleigh: “A shared workspace designed to empower, foster, and cultivate companies that produce long-term job growth and positive social impact.”

(CATAWBA) Manufacturing Solutions Center, Conover: “To encourage and support business startups in North Carolina communities where entrepreneurism has been ingrained in the culture.” Meeting “a new paradigm” in apparel, hosiery, and furniture production.

(CHARLOTTE) The North Carolina Innovation Crescent: “The NC Innovation Crescent will be a globally-significant center of innovation by connecting the Piedmont’s existing educational, corporate and human resources into a unified labor / knowledge market.” (no website)

(RALEIGH/ASHEVILLE/CHARLOTTE) YES!: Youth and Adults Creating Change: An adult partnership program where “the voices of youth are as valued and respected as the voices of adults.”


(CATAWBA) Developing the Architects of Tomorrow: Newton-Conover Middle School in Catawba County “has embraced its space for innovation as it transforms into a STEM school by August 2015.”

(RALEIGH) NC State’s Innovation Space + Ecosystem: Student innovation is the focus of The Garage, a space offering business creation and prototyping for students who demonstrate a passion for entrepreneurship. Turning “Think and Do” from our motto into a directive for innovation.

(RALEIGH) Designbox: Established in 2003 by husband and wife team, Aly and Beth Khalifa, it was the first co-working space in the Triangle. “Next” is a design gallery in downtown Raleigh to showcase the fusion between technology and creativity.

(WILMINGTON) UNCW CREST Research Park: “…drives translational research initiatives that support economic growth and innovative product developments that benefit the world.”

(STATEWIDE) NCNS-Innovating Education in Our State: “The goal of North Carolina New Schools (NCNS) is to empower teachers, principals, and administrators to engage and motivate students toward higher levels of achievement through new approaches to education.”

(GREENSBORO) Entrepreneurial education cowork collab: “The Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneur Connection and Action Greensboro are partnering on a new coworking, entrepreneurial and higher education experiential learning space that opened this Fall.”

(BARCO-ELIZABETH CITY) Currituck Community Park: “In the center of rural Currituck County lies an intersection for tying education, research and commerce together for economic development.  The Currituck Community park is an outstanding example of public/private partnership for the greater good of the community.”

(DURHAM) The American Underground: “The American Underground’s model is to provide space, community, and programming for solo entrepreneurs to forty-person, fast growing teams…the American Underground offers lessons around entrepreneurial support as a proven vehicle for downtown revitalization.”

(DURHAM) Groundwork Labs:  “Targeted at scaleable technology companies in North Carolina…we look very much like an accelerator: we are selective, mentor-driven, intense, and time limited to several months.”

(RALEIGH) Innovative Energy Solutions: “Advanced Energy is a non-profit energy services company and we work closely with local utilities, equipment vendors, and industrial companies to help improve the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes and operations.”

(DURHAM) Bull City Forward @ Historic Five Points: “We will activate an underutilized commercial facility in an underperforming area of Durham by providing resources and assistance to typically underrepresented social entrepreneurs and minority-owned social businesses and nonprofits.”

Flywheel Coworking: Winston Salem: Connects former members of the corporate workforce “to others in academic communities and to the business ecosystem.”

(ASHEVILLE) Mojo Coworking: “Mojo Coworking has been the center of Asheville’s entrepreneurial eco-system for nearly 4 years…Mojo also hosts multiple events in our space that help our members collide with the creative community at large.”

(RTP) First Flight Venture Center, Inc. (FFVC): “FFVC de-risks High Science, High Impact companies positioning them as financially viable, freestanding businesses able to compete for the management and capital resources required for growth.”

UNC Wilmington CIE Accelerator: “CIE has a combination of event space for training, co-working space for “napkin-stage” startups, low cost offices, access to mentors and private capital.”

For more information on the Challenge and nominees, visit