CED awarded grant to refocus mission

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 05:30 PM

The Durham-based Council for Entrepreneurial Development has won a $250,000 grant to help the nonprofit retool its strategy.

Also known as CED, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development is a nonprofit that works to support entrepreneurs in the Triangle and across the state.
The group was awarded the grant by N.C. IDEA, another Durham-based nonprofit that focuses on providing funding to technology companies in the state. The money will be paid out across three years and will help CED to change its business model and alter its services.
“CED was established in 1984, and over the course of three decades the needs of the startup community have changed,” said Joan Siefert Rose, president of CED, in a news release. “We are thankful for this opportunity to work with N.C. IDEA, with whom we have a history of successful collaboration.”
There is not as much of a need for organizations focused on helping very early-stage entrepreneurs launch new businesses, Siefert Rose said, as there are now university programs, co-working spaces, and others that fill that role.
So she said CED wants to refocus on helping companies in later stages of growth to find investors or get access to additional resources they may need.
She estimated that there are 150 to 200 companies in the area that are moving into the growth phase that CED would look to target.
“They have some early-stage funding, they might have received some grant money, they might have some customers, (and are) looking at issues around growth as opposed to just starting,” she said.
Initially, CED will use the funding from N.C. IDEA to build an information bank of names of companies, mentors and investors that can be used to help companies to network with the right people or investors at the right time, according to the release.  Other projects are expected to follow in later years of the grant.
This year, she said the group will look to bring in investors and others to come in to talk to entrepreneurs in the Triangle.
“As we look to shape this new vision of CED we’re looking to connect the Research Triangle with sources of capital that are outside the market that are helpful to entrepreneurs that are growing their businesses here,” she said.
Also, Siefert Rose said CED will be looking to find other funding sources. Currently, the nonprofit gets its funding from technology and life science venture conferences, from its membership base and through donations.
The organization has had five years of break-even or profitable operations, Siefert Rose said. According to tax records filed with GuideStar, an organization that reports on the finances of nonprofits, CED was profitable in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.
The organization reported a profit of $178,000 in the year on total revenues of $1.49 million. That’s up from what was, according to tax records, was a loss of $285,651 for the prior year.
However, Siefert Rose said the nonprofit was able to use dollars from a capital fundraising campaign for operating expenses. She said the funds had always been intended to be used for that purpose, but for bookkeeping purposes, they weren’t treated that way.
“The money that was promised to the capital campaign was always budgeted for operating expenses,” she said. “We lived within our operating budget as we anticipated the income to come in.”
The grant award was expected to be announced Thursday at CED’s annual meeting at the Durham offices of Bronto Software.