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.

Program Benfits

  • 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

Upcoming Cohorts

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis 

Key Dates (6 week program)

Info Session: Email  for more information

Participant Notification: April 17th (or before)

Kickoff Workshop: April 26th. In Person (PORTAL) 5:30-8:30pm

Weekly Workshops will be held on Wednesdays, 6-8pm (Virtual, unless indicated)

May 3rd, May 10th (In Person), May 17th, May 24th

Final Presentations: May 31st. In Person (PORTAL) 5:30pm-8pm


Learn More  


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 MICRO ($10,000) and SEED ($50,000) Grants.

Charlotte Launch Program Statistics

Since inception in 2017, the Charlotte Launch program has served 114 Charlotte and western Carolina companies. 

Meet our Alumni


Applications and Information

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

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