Ten creative entrepreneurs, from Asheville, Atlanta, Chicago, Mexico City, Nashville, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, are competing for $50,000 in venture funding as part of Creative Startups’ newest Southeastern Accelerator program in Winston-Salem, NC, the “City of Arts & Innovation.” The world-class program is educating startups on business model development and venture capital funding. The initiative is hosted by the Center for Creative Economy in Winston-Salem to get creative businesses beyond launch stage to customer acquisition and profitability.
More than 100 applications were received from 19 countries and 21 states, including Washington, DC. The selection process involved reviews by a panel 14 judges, from business leaders and angel investors, to experts from Creative Startups and the Center for Creative Economy.
For six weeks, these 10 companies, who represent uniquely creative businesses run a diverse array of entrepreneurs, are participating in an intensive eight-week education program. Among the prestigious guest faculty is Lena Ramfelt, Ph.D., Professor at Stanford University and Co-Founder of Gear-up Ventures; Wendy Castleman, Innovation Leader and Design Thinking Strategist at Intuit; Jon Obermeyer, Chief Content Officer at Apogii, Chad Cheek, Owner of Elephant In The Room; Dalton Grein, Fund Executive of the Piedmont Angel Network; and Toni Sikes, CEO of CODAworx.
The program began on August 8 with a six-week online course using Creative Startups’ entrepreneurship curriculum. Beginning September 25, the companies arrive in Winston-Salem for a five-day “Deep Dive,” in which the teams work one-on-one with global visionary and creative leaders.
A highlight of their experience will be DEMO DAY on September 28, which is open to the public, in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, allowing each creative entrepreneur to showcase their company to the media, business leaders and potential investors. On September 29, the 10 competing teams will “pitch” their business concepts to angel and venture capital funding leaders. On September 30, three finalists will be announced as recipients to share $50,000 in investment funding.
Major partners and sponsors for Creative Startups-Winston Salem include the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the City of Winston-Salem, the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and numerous private businesses and community leaders.
Companies participating in the Southeastern Accelerator include:
Creative Startups, headquartered in Albuquerque, NM, operates startup accelerator programs around the world. The organization is unique in that it focuses solely scaling startups in the creative industries with mentorship from successful entrepreneurs whose core skills are based in the creative industries. These industries cover a wide range of sectors, including design, gaming, software, film, music, publishing, performance arts, visual arts, new media, video, museums and education technology.
Creative Startups’ mentors include musicians, filmmakers, designers, branding experts, and investors who invest in creative businesses. Combined, Creative Startups Mentors have raised over $3.5 million for new ventures. In the past 18 months, companies that have completed the program have raised on average $152,000 in funding for their projects while benefiting from more than 1,500 hours of mentorship from leaders in the creative industries, including Fast Company, Hopeless Records, and CODAworx, among others.
The Center for Creative Economy serves as a catalyst for innovation and an advocate for creative industries and entrepreneurs, promoting connectivity and growth. The center brings people, ideas, and resources together to benefit a burgeoning creative sector. In addition to Creative Startups, its programs include Swerve, the new hub for creative enterprises in North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad. It brings creative professionals together at lively, informative monthly meetups, and through a growing online community. Swerve participants tap into a local network of collaborators, mentors, and new business contacts. The focus is on cultivating and expanding creative businesses and meeting new people.
September 21, 2016