Health, Wellness, Nutrition, AgTech, B2B, and Minority Founders

Win your first Tranche of investment

Seed Funding, Mentors, Subject Matter Experts and Follow-On Investor Contacts

 Application Deadline is June 30, 2021


2021 New Ventures Challenge

Each of the 2021 New Ventures Accelerators starts with a Challenge - an idea competition that offers startup teams the opportunity to win seed funding, our 12 week accelerator delivered on our LMS, and access to industry experts and teams of mentors.. Winning teams will be awarded cash prizes and follow-up investments with an average $50,000 investment per team in return for a 7.5% equity stake.


Powered by Flywheel and the Flywheel Foundation

Flywheel and its Foundation administer the Challenge on behalf of  each New Ventures investor group, provides workspace for selected challenge teams during the finalists briefing and final pitch weekend, runs the accelerator, and organizes the resources and mentors for development of teams’ concepts and commercialization plans.


New Ventures Backs the Challenge

The New Ventures Investment groups are organized by groups of local investors who are regional patriots focused on energizing their startup ecosystem. New Ventures groups are organized under the Federal Reg D 506b exemption and operate as member-based and democratically-run investment LLCs with an Operating Agreement governing use of funds and process for investment decisions. All members are active investors.


Selected from the pool of applicants, up to eight teams will be deemed winners of each of the  Challenges, be accepted into one of the four New Ventures Accelerators and  be awarded the following cash prizes as the first tranche of an average $50,000 investment per team:

$35,000 1st prize

$15,000 2nd prize

$10,000 3rd prize

$5,000 for up to five runner-ups

Additional investments will be based on milestone achievement as teams progress through the accelerator. For more information, please see Terms and Conditions.


The New Ventures Challenge 2021 startup competition is accepting applications into four pipelines covering Health/Wellness/Nutrition, AgTech, B2B Software, and Come Up for Minority Founders. Qualifying companies will range from formative inception to early-stage technology enabled companies, typically before raising a Series Seed financing round.
Selected teams will benefit from Flywheel’s success over 5 years developing curriculum focused on current skills in technology, marketing, leadership, operations, and finance. In addition to pre- and post-revenue startup teams and companies, student teams from accredited higher education institutions are encouraged to apply. Refer to eligibility requirements and terms for more information.

The core curriculum is delivered virtually through our Learning Management System, supplemented with virtual and in-person cohort sessions with subject matter experts and mentors.




Applications Open

April 5, 2021


Deadline for Applications

June 30, 2021 11:59 PM EDT


Round 1 Judging

July 1, 2021


Round 2 Judging

July 9, 2021


Finalists Announced, Due Diligence Begins

July 10, 2021


Finalists Briefing

July 13, 2021


Pitch Prep Day

July 122 2021


Final Pitches - Winners Announced

July 23-24, 2021


Due Diligence Cont.

July 13 - July 31, 2021


Accelerator Begins

August 3, 2021


Accelerator Demo Days

October 28-29, 2021


Residency At Flywheel

Available during the accelerator and three months following.



Experience rapid development, educational workshops and a disciplined lean startup process taught by experienced entrepreneurs and tech mentors over a 3-month acceleration and 2-month follow-up residency at Flywheel.

Interact with a pool of over 40 experienced mentors with expertise in startups, full stack technology, marketing and design. The are an average of 40 investors each year, most of whom are successful serial entrepreneurs. Our community is teeming with finance, legal, customer development, sales and marketing, product design and social media experts willing to pay it forward.

Get connected to our knowledge assets and subject matter experts ranging from the Core of North Carolina to Upstate South Carolina. Each New Ventures Accelerator and Investor Group is supported by Flywheel's growing network of innovation centers.

Make exclusive presentations to New Ventures investors and top Southeast angel and venture capital investors.

Interact with and present to top corporate and healthcare technology, AgTech, software innovation, and venture development executives actively seeking innovative startups. Our promise to you is acceleration, customer connections, knowledge asset clusters, and linkage with follow-on capital. We are focused on equity and diversity in our programs and outputs.

Get introduced regionally and nationally to second stage seed and Series A investment fund managers.


Teams that advance to the accelerators qualify for an average investment of $50,000 based on progress toward milestones.*

The Accelerators are an intense three-month program through which startups develop ideas into investor-ready functional business models. Teams are taken through a lean-startup method with weekly workshops and agreed upon milestones.
The educational program that accompanies the investment and mentorship is one of the most important ways that the Accelerator’s management team can positively influence startup success. Our Learning Management System allows self-paced curriculum delivery coupled with a hybrid cohort experience combining virtual and in-person sessions with mentors and industry experts.
Flywheel’s principals and New Venture Investors are involved at every step. Because of the pressures on founder time and founder focus, it’s critical that the education program consist of only the most relevant topics, covered in a concise way that is easily and immediately applicable.

*Please refer to Terms and Conditions before applying.




Focus is placed on both refining the business concept and value innovation (making the competition irrelevant). Emphasis is on the business idea development and understanding core concepts of product and customer portfolios, market position and Blue Ocean strategies.
Key milestones at the conclusion of Week 4 include first development steps toward design of an MVP (or next iteration) and meeting needs of early adopters .


Focus is on building and testing Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in the form of functioning software, infrastructure and/or device prototype. This phase involves structured interactions with early adopter and customers, continuous refinement of MVP, and confirmation of customer and market channels. The key milestone for this stage is defined as an MVP and initial customer acceptance.

Informing Customer Relations: Networking, Pitch Practice, Marketing, Sales and Service, Communications, PR and Branding
Key Concepts: Strategic Alliances, Colllaboration, Industry Clusters, Resource Sharing, Co-Branding, Purchasing Partnerships, Co-Production

Critical path toward Week Six milestones.

WEEKS 9-12

Focus continues on building and testing MVP and preparing for Demo Day. Emphasis on metrics and validation that founders have created an attractive business concept, a strong organizational plan, are developing good client/customer relations, and will achieve profitable operations.

Informing Customer Development: Partnerships, Pitch Practice, Sales Process Chain, Sales Activity Plan, Sales Arguments, Sales Objections
Key Operational Concepts: Financials, Production and Delivery, Funding and Internal Process Systems

Critical path toward Weeks Ten and Twelve milestones.


Follow-up residency allows teams to continue receiving guidance, sales and marketing coaching involvement from mentors as they develop market traction and scale thier customer base. Teams benefit from the financial support in the form of initial equity investment, but also the quality of the Accelerator's domain, legal and infrastructure support, a strong mentorship network, and robust relationships and seed investors.


Please review the terms and conditions, and then click below to begin your application.


Community | Startups | Innovation
New Ventures uses Flywheel’s network of innovation centers. Each location is a community hub for bleeding-edge technology research and high growth startups. Each year Flywheel attracts thousands of attendees to over 100 hosted programs such as Startup Grind, Techstars Startup Weekend, and New Ventures Demo Day.