(Last Updated On: August 29, 2017)

Winners of 2016 Creative Startups
Photo Credit Taneka M Bennett

Winston Salem, N.C. – The Center for Creative Economy in Winston-Salem has announced the ten creative companies that will compete in Creative Startups in Winston-Salem for $75,000 in angel and venture funding as part of Creative Startups’ Southeastern Accelerator program. The goal is to educate entrepreneurs on successful business practices and move creative ventures beyond launch stage to customer acquisition and profitability.

“This year, we increased the number of applicants to our program, receiving 55 applications from 7 countries and 10 states,” said Margaret Collins, executive director of the Center for Creative Economy. “The selection process involved reviews by a panel of 16 judges, from business leaders and investors to experts from Creative Startups and the Center for Creative Economy.”

Ten teams will participate in an eight-week session that includes a six-week online course using entrepreneurship curriculum customized for creatives and developed with former Stanford University faculty; and a five-day “Deep Dive” in which the teams work one-on-one with global visionaries and creative leaders. The online program began on August 8.

The “Deep Dive” takes place from Sept. 24 to 29 at the Creative Community Lab in Winston-Salem.  This includes DEMO NIGHT on the evening of Sept. 26 at Biotech Place in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem. Teams will showcase their innovations to funding prospects, businesses, community leaders, and the media.

Creative Startups at work

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 UNCSA-affiliated creative enterprise must complete 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.

Participating companies include Corey Chandler Productions (Wilmington, NC), a tribe of filmmakers with the perfect alchemy to build beautiful productions and passionately communicate stories; Dance Adventures (Cambridge, MA), an adventure travel company specializing in epic dance tours around the world; Denizens Plush (Winston-Salem), an independent hand-manufacturer of weird plush toys;  Do Good Artist (Puerto Rico/Winston-Salem), a developer of innovative partnerships and initiatives between the arts and other industries; Jenni Earle (Winston-Salem), a design house specializing in hand-dyed bandanas inspired by tradition, southern culture and courage; Kidobit (Wilmington, NC), an educational game company whose first product teaches kids age 5+ the basics of coding; MEDwig (Winston-Salem), a high quality, custom medical wig-making company for patients with hair loss; OMG Herbal Bar (Winston-Salem), a boutique offering customized natural and holistic products and services to enhance health; Sincerely Cosmetics (Los Angeles), a vegan non-toxic cosmetic company that gives a portion of sales to arts education for inner-city youth; and The Dream School (Winston-Salem), an afterschool and summer camp that utilizes podcasting, digital video and coding to enhance students basic learning skills.

Carrie Shaw demonstrates Embodied Labs VR system at 2016 Creative Startups Demo Night

Major partners and sponsors for Creative Startups Winston Salem include the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, the City of Winston-Salem, Flow Foundation, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Inmar, the L. David Mounts Foundation and numerous private businesses and community leaders.

Creative Startups is headquartered in Albuquerque, NM, and operates accelerator programs around the world, focusing solely on scaling start-ups in the creative industries.

Center for Creative Economy serves as a catalyst for the connectivity and growth of creative enterprises in Winston-Salem, the Triad, and North Carolina. The Center hosts Creative Startups in the Southeast, and its programs nurture, connect, and assist artists and creatives in building their businesses