Charlotte Launch Program

Applications NOW OPEN for spring 2024 Cohort

The Charlotte Launch customer discovery program is for early-stage, innovation-driven startups in the Charlotte region 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.

Since inception in 2017, the Charlotte Launch program has served over 130 Charlotte and western Carolina companies.

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.

Spring 2024 Cohort Information

Applications Open- 12/19 through 1/17/2024

Applications reviewed on a rolling basis.

Cohort Dates: Hybrid cohort with meetings on Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30pm

Asynchronous Work Week of 1/22/2024

1/31 Intro Workshop (Virtual)

2/7 Workshop 2 (Virtual)

2/21 Workshop 3 (Virtual)

2/28 Final Presentations (In-Person)

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

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.