Education briefs: Applications due Jan. 3 for upcoming NC Idea Labs in February

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 10, 2020

DURHAM – NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, is accepting applications for NC Idea Labs through Jan. 3. The first cohort of 2021 will run virtually Feb. 1 – 26.

The four-week customer discovery program helps entrepreneurs take their first steps toward building a successful company. The program guides founders through the process of identifying and targeting customers, then validating product/market fit. Entrepreneurs spend much of the time communicating directly with potential customers, gathering feedback and assessing demand. Ideal candidates for the program are full-time founders who are at the “idea” stage. Some companies that are further along and are assessing how to scale have found the program beneficial as well.

Interested applicants can watch a pre-recorded information session to learn more about the program and then attend a live Q&A Session with NC IDEA LABS Director John Austin on December 17. The video and registration links can be found on the LABS pages of the NC IDEA website here.

The upcoming application opportunity for the first 2021 cohort of NC IDEA LABS is now open with applications due at 5 p.m. on Jan. 3. Finalists will be interviewed in mid-January and selected participants will be notified by Jan. 21.

To learn more and apply for NC IDEA LABS, visit and follow the links on the homepage.

NCBE announces two-day virtual cultural arts event

RALEIGH – North Carolina arts and humanities teachers and their students are invited to attend the free virtual Cultural Arts LIVE Conference that will be held on December 15-16, 2020. The conference is being hosted by the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE) as part of the NC Student Connect initiative and in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Hometown Strong. The two-day live, immersive virtual experience will be packed with exciting sessions featuring live performances, virtual tours and field trips, and interactive workshops.

“While teachers of every subject have been challenged to re-imagine their teaching techniques for remote learning, it has been especially true for the interactive and creative arts and humanities subjects.” said Caroline Sullivan, Executive Director, NCBCE. “This conference will help both teachers and students to think about new ways to learn and inspire through virtual experiences.”

Cultural Arts LIVE will be held from 9:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. each day and will include hour-long sessions for music, dance, art, English Language Arts, history, chorus, and drama. Sessions will also focus on the arts and humanities for Exceptional Children. Among the presenters are Artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner, who will create a mural designed by students; 6-time Grammy-nominated jazz musician and educator Nnenna Freelon; and North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green.

Some of the live sessions will feature the North Carolina Symphony, the Carolina Ballet, North Carolina Arts in Action and the North Carolina Symphony String Quartet. Virtual field trips will take students and teachers to some of the state’s historic sites such as Tryon Palace, the Battleship North Carolina, Duke Homestead, the North Carolina State Capitol and the North Carolina Museum of Art. Other sessions will focus on writing and dance techniques; the history of art and literature; traditional Native American music; professional development for teachers; print, broadcast and multimedia journalism; the history of African American music; animation; chorus workshops; collaborating through set design and production and much more.

Cultural Arts LIVE is the third in a series of three virtual remote learning conferences held this fall through Gov. Roy Cooper’s NC Student Connect initiative. The first was the REAL 2.0 Conference, which provided educators with remote learning professional development and helped parents navigate technology and new ways of learning. The second was the STEM Connect Conference, where educators learned best practices from businesses and other teachers on how to incorporate STEM into the virtual classroom.

Anyone wishing to attend Cultural Arts LIVE can register at All of the sessions will be recorded and can be accessed two weeks after the conference. Educators and parents can also view the recordings from the previous two conferences at the same link.

Images, possible messaging and hashtags to use for promoting Cultural Arts LIVE can be found in the social media kit.

The North Carolina Business Committee for Education is a nonprofit that operates out of the Office of the Governor. Its Board of Directors and membership are business leaders from across North Carolina. NCBCE’s work, along with that of the Remote Learning Working Group and Hometown Strong, informed the statewide  NC Student Connect program that Governor Cooper launched in September. NC Student Connect is investing $40 million to address internet connectivity gaps that are a barrier to remote learning for many North Carolina students and support professional development for educators and digital inclusion efforts for parents and caregivers.

For more information about NCBCE and its ongoing work to support education in North Carolina, visit