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The KickStart Commercialization Awards Program helps early-stage, UNC Chapel Hill companies meet commercial milestones, either on the technical side (prototype development, animal studies) or on the business side (regulatory pathway, market opportunity). The program provides funding of up to $50,000 to companies that are founded on intellectual property.  

Companies use this crucial funding in a variety of ways, which include but are not limited to:

  • Early-stage proof-of-concept experiments
  • Validation studies
  • Prototyping
  • Business intelligence
  • Market research and competitive landscape analysis
  • Launching beta programs
  • Obtaining preliminary data for government grant applications

The program generates data and results that companies can use to support future funding rounds and partner conversations. The awards become stepping stones that propel companies to be more attractive for funding from grants, angel and venture capital investors.

The program is open to any early-stage company based on research innovations at UNC where at least one of the founders is a faculty member, student or staff at UNC (or primary appointment at UNC for the joint UNC-NCSU Biomedical Engineering department) or where the startup is based on a research innovation from a UNC faculty member (i.e. UNC faculty is not a founder).