As part of Keep it Local: Arts and Innovation month, we are taking a look at the creative economy in Winston-Salem through one of its integral organizations: the Center for Creative Economy. We got some insights from its founding executive director, Margaret Collins.

How big is the creative economy in the Triad area?

The creative economy has over 30,000 people actively working in the creative industries and those that support it. Examples of Triad creative enterprises include High Design/Consumer Goods, Music, Dance, Art, Interactive Digital Media, Apps, Gaming, Film, Education Tech, Publishing, Culinary, Fashion, Cosmetics/Beauty, Toys, and new technologies for creative industries. The list grows organically as new fields emerge and businesses are created to solve problems in the creative fields.

How does your organization champion arts and innovation?

Center for Creative Economy, CCE, serves as a Hub for creative entrepreneurs and creative business owners. Its mission is to Launch, Grow, and Accelerate creative enterprises through its programs and resources. CCE’s vision is to “to be known as a premier economic development organization that is building the creative economy and creative community in Winston-Salem, the Triad, and North Carolina. CCE’s signature program is the Creative Startups accelerator, an intensive 8-week business skill development program to assist creatives to launch, grow and scale their business. The accelerator attracts $50,000 in seed stage funding for the top three finalists. Locally, CCE hosts Swerve, a monthly event offering innovative content curated for creative enterprises, a Creative Directory, jobs platform, and social media connectivity.

What upcoming events can people take part in?

The next Swerve event is Thursday, March 15, focused on “Marketing on a Shoestring Budget”. The speaker will be Carol Reeve of Girl on the Roof, a local Winston-Salem marketing agency. The event takes place at the Center for Design Innovation, 450 Design Ave. from 11:30-1:00 pm. Lunch is served. Reservations are required.

The applications for the 2018 Creative Startups Winston-Salem accelerator open in April. If you are a creative business focused on the launch and growth of your business, check out this unique program designed specifically for creative entrepreneurs.

The Chamber’s Keep it Local initiative promotes community support for local business ventures. Spending locally creates a strong economy and a sense of place which gives our town its unique lifestyle. The Keep it Local campaign will feature a different segment of businesses each month in 2018. February is Arts and Innovation Month.