2016 Winston-Salem Impact



The Center for Creative Economy hosts Creative Startups Accelerator and is the lead partner for Creative Startups across the Southeastern U.S. This intensive 8-week virtual program is open to all startups regardless of location. During the first 7 weeks, startups will critically analyze their business models and receive tools and training to combat tough situations. The final week all startups, mentors, and investors will travel to Winston-Salem, NC to work together and network during the Deep Dive. This week ends with a pitch competition where the top three startups split a pool of $50,000 in seed stage investment. 

New in 2017 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. 

2017 Accelerator

Applications for 2017 Winston-Salem program are now closed.
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Program Details

Accelerator Course - 6-week interactive online course
August 7th - September 15th, 2017
Deep Dive - 5-day intensive retreat for Startups, Mentors, and Investors in Winston-Salem
September 24 - 29th, 2017

Program Fee - We DO NOT take equity in your company. Because of that, there is a fee: $895 per person. There is no fee to apply. Because we're subsidized by government and non-government organizations, the only fee to accepted participants is the course fee and travel to Winston-Salem for the Deep Dive. Everything else is included:

  • All materials & supplies. 
  • All food and lodging for the week-long Deep Dive in Winston-Salem 
  • 12 months of mentoring. 
  • If we were not subsidized, the fee for the program would be closer to $17,000.

Resources -  
No equity taken 
$50,000 between top 3 teams
$25,000 in support and shared services for a creative business affiliated with the University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Why Winston-Salem

Known as the City of Arts and Innovation, Winston-Salem has a spirit and personality that drives creativity.  It is home to numerous catalysts such as Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, the Kenan Institute for the Arts, the UNC School of the Arts, the Creative Community Lab, and Flywheel. In 2017 Venture Cafe Winston-Salem launches a weekly innovation gathering.  All are part of an expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem that welcomes creative companies.

The fastest way to learn is from others who have been in your shoes. Join us for a world-class program in entrepreneurship for creative entrepreneurs. You will connect with successful business leaders who are passionate about mentoring and can help access angel and venture capital investors. In this competitive 8-week program:

  • Learn to create a scalable business model and how to sell it to investors
  • Work 1-on- 1 with global visionary creative thinkers and entrepreneurs
  • Generate exposure for your company
  • Pitch your idea to potential investors
  • Compete for $50,000 toward investment in your business


The Center for Creative Economy (CCE)  is focused on cultivating and expanding creative businesses and their networks. Its Swerve hub for creative professionals hosts lively, informative monthly meetups, and supports a growing online community. CCE also co-facilitates the Arts Enterprise Lab with the Kenan Institute for the Arts, and helps creatives tap into a local network of collaborators, mentors, and new business contacts.  The Kenan Institute for the Arts, the City of Winston-Salem, Shuyi Mo, and Inmar are major partners and sponsors for the Creative Startups Winston-Salem Accelerator. 

Meet the Winston-Salem Cohorts




CCE serves as a catalyst for innovation and an advocate for creative industries and entrepreneurs, promoting connectivity and growth. The center brings people, ideas, and resources together to benefit a burgeoning creative sector in NC. In addition to Creative Startups, its programs include Swerve, the new hub for creative enterprises in North Carolina's Piedmont Triad. 

For more information, visit