RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A local entrepreneur and Triangle tech fixture is opening up his checkbook, with a vision for the future.
Bill Spruill, co-founder of Global Data Consortium, recently donated $900,000 to North Carolina State University, in an effort to fund the next generation of startups and keep the Triangle's brightest entrepreneurial minds right here at home.
"This is all about community and making this area bigger and stronger," Spruill said.
Spruill wants to turn the Triangle into a top Tech destination, a city that will compete with the likes of Boston, Seattle, and the Bay Area in the tech and biotech sectors. He believes a donation like this, which will help fund a few chosen startups each year, is a first step towards doing just that.
"If we keep our best and brightest minds here, they will continue to grow bigger and bigger businesses here, and that leads to bigger and better outcomes for our community," he said.
Minds like Kyle Tomek, who co-founded biotech startup "DNAli". Tomek is a finalist for the new funding, which he says will be critical in turning his research into reality.
"Taking the sometimes theoretical research from in the lab and taking it to the real world, selling it to people, solving their problems, and really making an impact on the real world," he said.
Tomek says it's a gift that transcends its cash value and creates credibility moving forward.
"Getting that external validation from someone like Bill who's already been there, done that will allow us to have much more credibility as a start-up," he said.
Spruill has another main aim too. As a Black tech leader in the area, he wants to create new opportunities for underrepresented groups.
"I've adopted this adage of if you can see it, you can be it," Spruill said.
He said changing the complexion of tech will come down to making sure future minority entrepreneurs see themselves in the existing talent pool.
"I think it's important for people just to see it's not just others doing this, it's people that look like them, sound like them, and they have an opportunity to mirror that as they grow," Spruill said.