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You can apply for a microgrant only if…

You’re a for-profit startup and you haven’t been in business for more than 1 year

You operate (or are operating a project) in North Carolina’s coastal plain

Your startup makes positive environmental impact and fits within (at least) the Climate Action SDG

Your full project is actionable at most 12 months after you’ve received our funds

call for proposals coming soon

Pre-seed funding

Financial support from Stardust Startups NC is intended for climate-focused startups in their early stages.

Our microgrant provides pre-seed funding for a project that will get you on your way to realizing a long-awaited goal, whether that’s a train ticket for important travel, a patent application and business fees, buying important supplies, or enough rent to cover a few months rent for your new office.

We know that as an entrepreneur just getting started, these small things can add up and cost you time that you could be spending improving your project! We believe that creative, active energy is vital, and we want to make sure yours is prioritized.

We just won the World Vision pitch to get $30,000! Thank you for being the first organization to believe in us. We'll continue working hard to realize our goal.

Lumbrick team

Thanks for the kindness and the trust Stardust Startups has shown to us. It has made us confident, today more than ever, that what we do is important and that we are making a difference. Despite the COVID situation we keep moving forward, confident that we will keep growing.

Katherine TeraoFounder, Mindkit

More than money

In our 2021 study, impact entrepreneurs indicated that receiving a microgrant is a positive, helpful experience, especially when accompanied by a supportive organization like Stardust Startups.

The microgrant program is a helpful and easily manageable way to make progress towards impact and business objectives, by paying for necessary early-stage needs of the project, and is a way to instil feelings of certainty, confidence, and relief within entrepreneurs, motivating them to move forward with the business and apply for further funding. 🚀

Frequently asked questions

How much are the grants for?

Microgrants are US$3,000 each.

Are there any other eligibility requirements?

We’re looking for creative and ambitious people who are just starting out and want to make a difference. There are no age or experience restrictions. However, in addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, you must have access to a computer and be able to communicate effectively and relatively rapidly in English.

What's the process for awarding microgrants?

  1. Our website and social media will announce an open call for proposals.
  2. We receive submissions through in-person applications or our website.
  3. After the submission deadline has passed, all non-eligible applications are removed and eligible applications are passed on for feasibility review by environmental and business experts.
  4. Based on these reviews as well as potential for environmental impact, scalability, innovativeness, business sustainability, and professionalism, the Advisory Board chooses and ranks finalists. They then choose a winner.
  5. After the Board of Directors authorizes disbursement of funds, the winning startup is notified and sent their grant money.
  6. We build them a page here on our website and promote their project through social media.
  7. The cycle begins again.

We communicate with our finalists and recipients before, during, and after the process. We value the sense of community and ‘personal touch’ that this practice brings. Whenever we hear updates, we post them in their pages and share on social media. We’re always interested in knowing their success and impact within their communities.

Where are you located?

Our headquarters are in Morehead City, North Carolina. Our nonprofit status is registered in the state of North Carolina.

Why "Stardust"?

We are all made of stardust. When stars explode and release energy, they create the most essential chemical elements that make up all matter in the universe. Those elements, like carbon and iron, are the building blocks of our environment and all of life. And we believe that the inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs of this world play a similar role as stars in the sky… their ideas propel positive social and environmental impact so that everyone can benefit. Startups, as opposed to corporations, are becoming more and more important in the millennial age.

How did the organization begin?

The extraordinarily sad circumstances from which the nonprofit was born made it so special and the most meaningful thing Jean and Camille could do during that time. Jean and her husband Jim’s 22-year-old son, and Camille’s long-term boyfriend at the time, Angus Moloney, died suddenly from a hiking accident in Colorado. Read what happened next here.

80% of success is showing up.
– Woody Allen