Charlotte Launch Program

Charlotte Launch Program

The Charlotte Launch customer discovery program is for early-stage, innovation-driven startups in Charlotte and western North Carolina.The curriculum takes early-stage entrepreneurs through customer discovery and business model generation activities modeled after the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps).The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation operates a NSF I-Corps Site for university technology commercialization and is trained to offer the curriculum.

Charlotte Launch is designed to succeed at the most critical phase of commercializing an innovation– the opportunity assessment– through customer discovery. Successful participants and teams are agile.  They participate to discover the business model that provides the best opportunity to accelerate profitable commercialization of their innovation. Charlotte Launch is best described as a boot-camp for innovators and is designed to challenge you at every turn.

Apply to Charlotte Launch Winter 2023



"What this program does is identifies that approach to customer discovery and breaks that down and push you to go out and interview."

Desmond Wiggan, Founder, BatteryXchange​

Program Benefits

  • Customer Discovery
  • Mentorship 
  • Network building
  • Go/No-Go decision to move forward
  • Teams are better prepared to compete for NC IDEA Seed grant, Charlotte Challenge and angel investment
Winter 2023 Virtual Cohort

Applications Open

Cohort Dates To Be Announced Soon

Charlotte Launch NC IDEA Alumni


Applying to the Program

Team Qualifications

Are you ready to dive into your business plan and addressable market, find ready customers and ultimately answer the question,

"Does my innovation have me solving a problem that many people want (or need) me to fill?

  • Team with an innovation-driven venture suitable for national or international market
  • Market testing, Minimal Viable Product or Beta Prototype


Teams will be expected to make a commercial viability decision at the end of the program. Successful completion of the program will benefit teams in their search for funding, including the NC IDEA Seed Grant ($50,000).

Charlotte Launch Program Statistics

Since inception in 2017, the Charlotte Launch program has served 113 Charlotte and western Carolina companies. 

113 Alumni teams



Applications and Information

For more information, contact Laura Smailes, Assistant Director. or 704 687-5675