NC Idea, a not-for-profit that provides grants to North Carolina technology startups, has named an executive with experience as both an entrepreneur and in entrepreneurship education as its new CEO.
Thom Ruhe, who will take over as CEO in March, most recently was CEO of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, an Ohio-based company that created entrepreneurship education programs and training services for a variety of organizations. Prior to that he was vice president of entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, which is focused on advancing entrepreneurship.
Ruhe also was the founding chief marketing officer at JumpStart, an economic development organization focused on early-stage companies in northeast Ohio.
NC Idea has been seeking a new leader since July, when founder and CEO David Rizzo retired. Sean O’Leary, the former president and CEO of StrikeIron, has been serving as interim director since then.
NC Idea has awarded $4.2 million to 104 companies across the state since its inception in 2006.