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Renaissance Fiber Announced the Winner of the 2022 NC Biotech Southeastern BIONEER Venture Challenge


Hemp fiber manufacturer recognized for emerging economic presence in Southeastern North Carolina

Wilmington, NC (May 25, 2022) -  Renaissance Fiber was announced as the winner of the Southeastern region NC BIONEER Venture Challenge at the awards ceremony held the evening of May 23rd in Wilmington, NC.

Three local companies were selected as Southeastern finalists of the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge on March 10. The startups, MacroFormulation, OpiAID and Renaissance Fiber, participated in a two-month process of mentoring and other assistance leading to a pitch judging event on May 23rd. “The venture applications for this second challenge were exceptional and showed a broad range of biotech-related commercialization activities and opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina,” Randall Johnson, executive director of the N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office, said. “This initiative showcases and strengthens the region's impressive community of innovators and entrepreneurs and helps young companies progress toward attracting investment to boost commercialization of biotech innovations and create high-paying jobs across our region.” The challenge’s goal is to raise the profile, increase the volume and enhance the success of regional life science innovation, commercialization, entrepreneurs and companies. Monetary awards totaling $40,000 are granted within each region, with $20,000 awarded to the 1st place winner and $10,000 each to the second and third place finishers (with a total of $200,000 awarded across the state).


To be considered for the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Physical presence in a North Carolina county represented by a NC Biotechnology Center Regional Office (Eastern, Greater Charlotte, Southeastern, Piedmont Triad, Western).

  • Life Sciences/Biotech-related business ventures, including ventures that support life sciences and biotech through equipment, technology platforms, and software applications. For example, ventures may be related to a broad range of biotech-related innovations and applications including agriculture, bioenergy, health/nutrition, advanced materials, industrial biotech, regenerative medicine, diagnostics, medical devices, biomanufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, technology, or marine biotech.


Regarding Renaissance Fiber's selection, Johnson said "they represent the opportunity to employ the state’s historically strong regional assets in agriculture, manufacturing, and textiles to generate innovative products that benefit the environment, agricultural community and economy". Founded by Michael Long, Renaissance Fiber was also recently recognized as a Coastal Entrepreneurship Award winner in the biotechnology category.  Headquartered in Winston-Salem, our key patent-protected process technology for degumming raw hemp fiber produces a textile fiber that can readily blended with cotton, polyester, wool and other fibers used in the textile industry. The process is clean (Ecologically Invisible™), cost-effective, and carbon-negative. Renaissance Fiber recently established operations in Wilmington, NC with the opening of its first hemp fiber mill. 

Winners from each region in the state, including Eastern, Greater Charlotte, Piedmont Triad, and Western, will next come together for a final pitch contest to declare the statewide winner in June.

About NC Biotech Venture Challenge

NCBiotech launched the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, a life-sciences-based, innovation-focused venture challenge, to support life sciences startup commercialization, innovators, entrepreneurs, and companies across North Carolina. This is the second round of the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, which recently went statewide after a pilot launch in the Southeast region in 2019. NCBiotech has partnered with organizations across the state to support finalists as they prepare for the regional and statewide pitches. These partners include Agile City, East Carolina University, Flywheel Coworking, Hatch Hatchworks, Launch Greensboro, NC IDEA, Pitt County Economic Development, UNC Wilmington, UNCW Center for Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Venture Asheville.

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 privately held company is a recipient of the NC IDEA Seed Grant, Venture Winston Grant, NC BEC Growth Grant, and now the NC Biotech Southeastern Region BIONEER Grant. For more information, please visit:, or contact

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