The goal of Creative Startups is to get your venture beyond the launch stage to profitability and growth.


But don't just take our word for it, hear it from our startups.  And, watch what they say about our Mentors!

Creative Startups is designed for creatives using creative technologies and meeting new and growing market opportunities.  We built the accelerator from the bottom up with creative entrepreneurs in mind.  We look for entrepreneurs who blur the lines between innovation, expression, and technology.  Creative Startups hosts accelerators in multiple locations.  Startups can apply to whichever location best suits their needs.  

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Frequently Asked Questions


What are the dates of the 2017 Accelerator?


It depends on the location. Review the timelines to determine which site best suits your startup's schedule. 

Only for Middle East residents - Course held in-person
Applications Open: April 2 - July 22, 2017
Classes: October 1 - November 16
Deep Dive: November 26 - 30

Open to Startups Worldwide
Applications Open: May 1 - June 11, 2017
Classes: August 7 - September 15; On-Board week July 31 - August 4
Deep Dive: September 24 - 30

Open to Startups Worldwide
Applications Open: May 29 - July 9, 2017
Classes: September 4 - October 13; On-Board week August 28 - September 1
Deep Dive: October 23 - 27

To find out about the info sessions and application process please fill out this short inquiry form so we can stay in touch. 


Can I talk to someone in-person about the Accelerator?


We welcome inquiries! Send us an email today.


Do you have a webinar info session I can attend?


You betcha! We offer webinars and in-person meet-ups to help you develop your application, ask us questions and get answers.
Visit our Events page to find an information session that fits your availability. 


How long does the program last?


Creative Startups Accelerators are essentially 10 weeks in duration.  Additionally, mentorship of startups continues throughout the year.

Week 1: On-Boarding & Orientation
Week 2 - 7: Six weeks of Classes
Week 8: Prep for Deep Dive
Week 9: Deep Dive
Afterward: Follow up with “best fit” Mentors


What are the classes about?


The Creative Startups curriculum was built from scratch by creative entrepreneurs - for creative entrepreneurs.  The rigorous six-week curriculum covers essential topics for entrepreneurs in any industry.  Topics include business model development, branding, cash flow analysis, financing new ventures, legal topics, and more.  Classes meet twice times weekly with and additional peer-to-peer meeting each week - yep, it’s intense!


What should I expect for time commitment if accepted into the accelerator?


It depends on how dedicated you are to improving your business. The amount of time invested will directly influence how successful you are.

We say that you should budget at least 15 hours per week for classes, meetings, mentor time and homework. The class time will be determined by the best fit for all the cohort once accepted into the program. 



I am the only founder of my business - can I still apply?


Yes. However, we prefer teams of two founders or partners.  We will award more points to applications submitted by teams.


We are a nonprofit startup - can we apply?


Yes, but note we do not take more than one nonprofit startup per cohort. 


We don't think venture capital investment is right for our startup, should we still apply?


Yes.  We believe that VC/angel investment is only suited to some entrepreneurs, some startups.  Our Mentors include creative entrepreneurs who built their firms without outside investment and others who have successfully worked with VCs.  We will have honest discussions with trusted VCs and entrepreneurs who can offer you advice and guidance on making these decisions wisely.


I have a great idea for a business, but I haven't started my business yet - should I apply?


Creative Startups Accelerator is built for creative entrepreneurs who are past the idea stage and are actively building out their venture.  If you are just getting started with your new idea consider applying next year. 
If you are local to New Mexico look into our LABS, as we are expanding programming in 2017 to help those in the idea stage take action steps towards building their business. 


My company is a few years old - can we still apply to Creative Startups?


Yes, you should apply!  Creative Startups has worked with companies that are still in startup phase despite being several years old.  Our judges will generally “pass” on companies that are over 5 years old AND have reached $5million in annual revenue.


Is the program restricted to only US startups?


No. We accept startups from all over the world!  Applicants are judged based on their business/startup - not location.
Startups can choose any city to apply to regardless of their geographic region. 

The only exception is our Kuwait Accelerator Savour is only open to Middle East startups. This program is an accelerator/incubator fusion and startups must be able to commute or relocate in order to participate. 


What is the monetary value of Creative Startups?


The full value of the program for an individual participant is over $17,000. Through a grant provided by the National Science Foundation and, NMEPSCoR we are able to dramatically reduce the fee to startups - by over 90%!  (Thank you, NSF and NMEPSCoR!)


How much is the fee?


$895 per person, once accepted into the program. (No fee for Kuwait.)

There is no fee to apply.

Creative Startups in the USA takes no equity in your company for participating. Kuwait-Savour invests in startups in return for an equity stake in your venture. 


What does the fee cover?


Everything except airfare. 

(Really?)  YES! 

The fee covers all Virtual Accelerator materials, supplies, 5 days/nights lodging and food during the Deep Dive, and 12 months of mentoring.


What is the selection process and judging criteria for applicants?


2017 Application deadlines for applications are:

Winston-Salem June 11 @ 11:59pm EDT (UTC-4)
Albuquerque July 9 @ 11:59pm MDT (UTC-6)
Kuwait July 22 @ 11:59pm UTC +3

The application requires submission of a short video (you can use your smartphone to make it) as well as brief written descriptions of your business, your goals, and your team's background. 

Selection criteria include: Creative and innovative contribution to your field (film, music, design, etc.); scalability; market potential; team's passion and experience.


Are there funding opportunities?



Though the locations structure them differently.

Winston-Salem and Albuquerque fund 3 startups at the end of the Deep Dive. The entire cohort, along with the accredited investors who join our Pitch Day, will vote to select the Top Finalists. The Top Finalist receives a $25,000 investment, the next a $15,000 investment, and finally a $10,000 investment.  We structure the investments in a mutually beneficial manner for the Top Finalists and Creative Startups.

Winston-Salem is offering 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. 

Kuwait will fund each startup accepted with the following conditions. 
In exchange for 15%-20% equity:

  • $15,000 on commencement of the program in Kuwait
  • Up to $35,000 in convertible note loan at the end of the program
  • We cover the $50,000 cost of the program.

What are the "creative industries"?


The creative industries include a wide range of sectors.  The thread woven throughout these sectors is creativity and culture, arts and expression.  According to the newly released, and first-ever estimates of the creative sector’s contributions to the US gross domestic product, the total output from arts and cultural production were $916 billion in 2011.