A Full-Stack Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Since its earliest days, Winston-Salem’s growth has been spurred by the innovation of its entrepreneurs. Many things about this city have changed since its inception – trading textiles for tech startups and cubicles for co-working spaces. Today, a wide range of organizations including Winston Starts, Flywheel, and the Center for Creative Economy provide a full continuum of support for entrepreneurs seeking programming, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Further fueling Winston-Salem’s thriving startup scene are several funding sources such as Winston-Salem Partners Roundtable (WSPR) Fund, Venture Winston Grants, and FCA Ventures. The crown jewel is Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter, one of the fastest-growing urban-based districts for innovation in the United States with more than 1.9 million square feet of office, laboratory and educational space—which is now home to more than 170 companies, five academic institutions, 3,700 workers and 1,800 students. If you are embarking on a new business venture, Winston-Salem has all the resources you need to succeed.
Entrepreneurial Tools & Resources
Access to Capital
From seed stage and beyond, Winston-Salem has a number of capital sources that allow local startups to achieve success. Over the past three years Winston-Salem based startups have raised over $50M in capital. Driving access to capital are organizations like Winston-Salem Partners Roundtable (WSPR) Fund, Flywheel’s New Ventures accelerator, Venture Winston grants, and First Launch Capital Fund. The WSPR fund is an angel group with over 60 members that provide both seed level capital, typically ranging between $100k to $300k, as well as access to potential corporate partners Flywheel’s New Ventures accelerator connects entrepreneurs to investors with an average $50k investment per startup. Venture Winston grants target early-stage startups with $50,000 non-dilutive grants per startup. First Launch Capital Fund is a seed stage venture fund that invests in tech startups throughout the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina.
Accelerators and Incubators
Located in Winston-Salem are a number of organizations that guide entrepreneurs through the startup lifecycle. Center for Creative Economy, an accelerator for creative entrepreneurs, helps to deliver entrepreneurs to success through a boot camp, programming, and a deep business network. Flywheel’s New Ventures program, which consists of four accelerators, paves a path from ideation to success by providing participating startups access to its LMS, mentors, and capital. Winston Starts is a startup incubator dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs’ business ideas and seeing them grow to sustainable success. RegeneratOR, another Winston-Salem based incubator, supports innovation from research to commercialization for entrepreneurs in the regenerative medicine space.
There is no shortage of affordable workspaces for entrepreneurs in Winston-Salem. Flywheel, Sparq, the Enterprise Center, and Launch Tower are just a few examples that offer space plus robust programming and amenities to help your business thrive.
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City for Small Business Growth
(Winston-Salem) | WalletHub 2019
Best State for Access to Capital & Project Funding
(North Carolina) | Area Development 2020
Best State for Business
(North Carolina) | CNBC 2021
Best Cities to Start a Small Business
(Winston-Salem) | ZenBusiness 2020
Most Affordable Downtown in the U.S.
(Winston-Salem) | MSN Money 2019
Best City for First-Time Homebuyers
(Winston-Salem) | Livability 2019
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