Type: Loan | Category: Business Loans

Small Business Research Loan (SRL)

The Small Business Research Loan program provides investments of $150,000 to $350,000 into innovative early-stage life sciences companies in North Carolina. The program supports:

  1. Business inception and related activities intended to help the company position itself for early-stage funding or partnering
  2. Research to advance the development of commercially viable technologies and products


Additionally, the state of North Carolina tasked NCBiotech with investing $500,000 in recurring funds to NC-based, early-stage ag tech companies. These awards, ranging from $100,000 to 250,000, will advance crop science, animal health and nutrition, food science, precision ag/ag data analytics innovation, and startup growth.


For a candidate life sciences company to be eligible to apply for the Small Business Research Loan, it must meet the minimum criteria below:

  • Develop and maintain a significant operating presence in North Carolina. To establish a significant presence, the company must: 

    (a) maintain its head office (where books and records are kept, taxes are paid, and senior management is located) in North Carolina 


    (b) conduct significant research, product development, or manufacturing activity in North Carolina.

  • Be engaged in life sciences research, development, or manufacturing to develop a product or technology with commercial potential. Regarding agricultural technology funds, companies need to develop or manufacture a technology impacting agriculture or agribusiness in NC in innovation areas of plant science, animal science, digital agriculture, or food science.

  • Have achieved a robust technical and commercially promising proof-of-principle of its technology for the intended product or application

  • Have a committed, dedicated management team and a solid business plan

  • Have a valid license(s) to the relevant core intellectual property expected to be necessary for the company to commercialize its product or technology

  • Have at least one management team member in North Carolina significantly engaged, dedicating at least 30 hours per week to the company and focusing on the company as his/her primary employment

The funding level is dependent upon the company stage. For example, higher-level awards will require the following:

  • A committed, dedicated management team and a solid business plan.

  • Robust technical and commercially promising proof-of-principle of its technology for the intended product or application.

  • Completion all project(s) funded by any previously awarded NCBiotech loan(s).

NCBiotech determines compliance with these requirements in its sole discretion on a case-by-case basis.

Application Process

Pre-Application: Once the applicant’s eligibility and general fit for the program have been established, the company may be invited to submit a pre-application to describe the company’s management, technology, the proposed project, and budget.

Full Application: Upon satisfactory review of the pre-application, the company may be invited to submit a full application. It will include the company’s complete business plan, project proposal, financial statements, and other supporting documentation.

Review and Approval: The investment team will thoroughly review the company’s application and solicit independent, third-party reviewers to help evaluate the technical and commercial merits of the proposal. Competitive applications will be presented to NCBiotech’s senior leadership and a committee of its board of directors for final review and approval.

Application Deadlines:

Pre-Application must be
submitted no later than:
And full application
must be submitted by:
For potential review
by EIC in:
November 6, 2023December 5, 2023March 8, 2024
February 13, 2024March 20, 2024June 7, 2024
May 23, 2024June 21, 2024September 13, 2024
August 20, 2024September 24, 2024December 13, 2024


Loan Terms

The Small Business Research Loan consists of:

  • A senior, unsecured loan with favorable terms including:
    • Five-year, fixed-term with a balloon payment at maturity for principal and accrued interest
    • Interest rate equal to the current prime rate plus 2%, with a maximum rate of 7%
  • A warrant to purchase company stock

Loan Disbursement

Successful applicants will receive loan funds according to the following schedule:

  • 50% of the loan amount at closing
  • An additional 40% upon receipt and approval of a mid-term project report
  • The final 10% upon receipt and approval of a final project report

Mid-term and final reports (Excel) include a detailed update of progress against proposed milestones with supporting data and actual spending versus budget. The Biotechnology Center will monitor the company’s progress until the SRL is repaid in full. Periodic progress reports and occasional site visits will be required.

More Information

If interested in an SRL, please contact the program director.

Type: Loan | Category: Business Loans

Small Business Research Loan (SRL)

Maximum Award: $250,000

Deadline: Quarterly

For questions or more information, contact:
Greta Brunet, MBA, PA-C
Senior Director, Investments Emerging Company Development 919-549-8868 | greta_brunet@ncbiotech.org

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