Apply to Creative Startups Winston-Salem to compete for up to $75,000 in funding

Drafting off its first, highly successful business accelerator program, the second annual Creative Startups Winston-Salem is now accepting applications. The world-class program helps creative entrepreneurs develop business models and identify funding. Hosted by the Center for Creative Economy in Winston-Salem, NC, this year’s participants will compete for venture and angel funding up to $75,000 from a range of companies and organizations.

Companies throughout the United States and internationally can apply. This location makes it easy for entrepreneurs in the Southeast to participate.

Deadline for applications is June 11, 2017.

Apply Here

Creative Startups, headquartered in Albuquerque, NM, runs programs throughout the world and is unique with its focus solely on teaching and mentoring entrepreneurs in creative industries with mentorship from entrepreneurs in those industries.

Ten teams will participate in an eight-week session that includes a six-week online course using Stanford University’s entrepreneurship curriculum customized for creatives; and a five-day “Deep Dive” in which the teams work one-on-one with global visionaries and creative leaders. The online program begins on August 7; the “Deep Dive” takes place from September 24-29 at the Creative Community Lab in Winston-Salem.

The Deep Dive includes DEMO NIGHT on the evening of September 26 at the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem. Teams will showcase their innovations to funding prospects, businesses, community leaders, and the media.

Competing teams also “pitch” their business concepts to investors and mentors to be one of three teams to receive a share of $50,000 in investment funding. New this year is an additional $25,000 in support and shared services for a creative business affiliated with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. The creative enterprise must be accepted and fully participate in the Creative Startups Accelerator, and agree to operate in or relocate to Winston-Salem. This increased support is made possible through a continued partnership with the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.

We look forward to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurial, creative businesses through education, mentoring and access to angel and venture funding.

Alice Loy, co-founder of Creative Startups

“Last year, we worked with 10 wildly creative companies in a range of industries, from virtual reality, publishing and fashion, to a music venue,” said Alice Loy, Co-Founder of Creative Startups. “The winners have gone on to build their businesses, gain additional funding and win awards. We look forward to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurial, creative businesses through education, mentoring and access to angel and venture funding.”

Major partners and sponsors for Creative Startups Winston Salem include the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, the City of Winston-Salem, Inmar, and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

Across the U.S., creative industries contribute $700 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product annually. Last year’s winner, Embodied Labs, went on to be one of five companies in the Frontier Tech Showdown in San Diego at the VR Summit. They also won the University of Southern California’s Medical VR Hackathon. Founder Carrie Shaw was named one of the “50 on Fire” by Chicago Inno.

The company won the Global Ed/Tech Startup Awards for “Best Ed/Tech startup West of the Mississippi.” Their prototype product is being used by 10 medical centers across the country; and their work has been written about in Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and more; and seen on the History Channel.

The Feeling Friends took second place in 2016 and is gaining strong traction in the market. Since then, the company has been endorsed by Head Start of Forsyth County, NC, for the pre-school market which will help educators teach feelings to children. The Feeling Friends launched four digital books in February, as well as the Feeling Friends Institute in March 2017.

Third place winner, Muddy Creek Cafe and Music Hall will host their first Singer Songwriter Festival and the second Annual Women's Music Festival, Girls in the Creek. They focused on improving the behind-the-scenes business so that they were able to announce plans to open a new location in Sparta, NC. “We learned a lot from the Creative Startups program so that we could become better business owners, not just operators of a restaurant and music hall,” said owner Shana Whitehead. “The program expanded our vision of what we could become. Each day, we live by the essence of a quote by Jim Rohn, one of America’s foremost business philosophers, ‘Work hard at your job and you can make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.’”

To apply, entrepreneurs can visit

About the Center for Creative Economy
The Center for Creative Economy (CCE) serves as a catalyst for innovation and an advocate for creative industries and entrepreneurs. The center brings people, ideas, and resources together to benefit a burgeoning creative sector. In addition to Creative Startups, its programs include Swerve, a 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. CCE also co-facilitates the Arts Enterprise Lab with the Kenan Institute for the Arts in Winston-Salem. All Lab participants receive Swerve membership and tap into a local network of collaborators, mentors, and new business contacts. CCE’s focus is on cultivating and expanding creative businesses and their networks.

May 09, 2017