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Renaissance Fiber Wins the NC BEC Growth Grant Award


NC IDEA & NC Black Entrepreneurship Council support diversely owned cleantech hemp fiber manufacturer

Winston-Salem, NC (January 17, 2022) -  NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, alongside the leadership of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council (NC BEC), announced today that the organization has awarded $525,000 in Growth Grants to seven Black-founded former NC IDEA SEED grant recipients, Including Renaissance-Fiber.`

“Today the world celebrates the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an icon of the modern civil rights era. Inspired by his teachings and our desire to expand equitable economic empowerment with entrepreneurship, the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council, with support from the NC IDEA Board and staff, are announcing Growth Grants to seven Black-founded companies,” said Thom Ruhe, CEO of NC IDEA. “These founders are leaders in the Black Entrepreneurship community and this funding will accelerate their growth while hopefully encouraging other minority founders to follow in their footsteps,” Ruhe continued. “In making these unprecedented grants, we hope it will likewise inspire other organizations to rethink their approach to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion,” Ruhe concluded.


The $75,000 NC BEC Growth Grants are awarded to former NC IDEA SEED grant recipients with primary headquarters in North Carolina with at least one founder actively working at the company identifying as Black or African-American. Recipients have made significant progress beyond the NC IDEA SEED stage and are poised to leverage the additional funding to obtain tangible milestones within the next year. Renaissance Fiber was founded in 2018 by Michael Long, but was soon joined by Daniel Yohannes, first as COO, and then as co-founder and CEO in January of 2020. It was a recipient of a 2019 NC IDEA SEED Grant, awarded to scale its Ecologically Invisible™ novel hemp degumming technology. Late in 2021, Renaissance Fiber received a Venture Winston Grant award, which established its headquarters in Winston-Salem. The NC BEC Growth Grants supports the establishment of the company's first hemp fiber mill in Wilmington, NC, which is expected to be completed by the end of Spring 2022. 


NC IDEA is an independent private foundation committed to empowering North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential. Through our powerful combination of competitive grants and programs, and a network of strategic partners, we help entrepreneurs when they need it most. NC IDEA’s resources are highly competitive, enabling the foundation to support North Carolina’s most ambitious entrepreneurs. We believe entrepreneurs transform communities and view our work as a catalyst for positive change. Learn more at

About Renaissance Fiber

Renaissance Fiber manufactures hemp fiber for the textile industry using hemp grown and processed in the United States. The company was established in 2018 as a scaled source for hemp fiber produced cleanly, (Ecologically Invisible™), cost-effectively, and with carbon-negative process, capable of blending with cotton, polyester, wool and other common fibers in the industry. The company is a recipient of the NC IDEA Seed Grant, Venture Winston Grant, and NC BEC Growth Grant, and is privately held. For more information, please visit:, or contact

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