• The Winston-Salem Ecosystem

    Winston-Salem has deep entrepreneurial roots with historical startups like HanesBrands, Krispy Kreme, Reynolds, BB&T, Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), Blue Rhino, Inmar, MullenLowe and Wake Forest Baptist Medical born and bred in Winston-Salem or North Carolina and now in full mature growth mode, forming the backbone of our local economy. All still have global corporate headquarters or a major corporate presence in Winston-Salem.

  • A fresh wave of entrepreneurship is now exploding in Winston-Salem:

    Biotech Place

    Located in the heart of Wake Forest University’s Innovation Quarter, this 242,000-square-foot building is a meeting place for scientists, researchers, and students. The building is equipped with the latest technology and custom-built laboratories that are ideal for sustainable partnerships.

    Dan Cohen

    Wake Forest University Center for Entrepreneurship

    The #27 university in the country with the #13 business school in the country has a burgeoning entrepreneurial culture with Dan Cohen, formerly head of Cornell University’s nationally recognized entrepreneurship initiative, at the helm. WFU students will provide an abundant source of executional and thought horsepower to Winston Start’s resident companies.

    UNCSA exterior


    The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, known as the Julliard of the South, is an elite creative and performing arts conservatory that trains hardworking, gifted young artists. UNCSA combines internationally recognized excellence in traditional mediums with innovation in technology and design, offering a wildly creative touch to industry in Winston-Salem.

    Salem College exterior photo

    Salem College

    Winston-Salem is also home to Salem College, the oldest continuously operating educational institution for women in the nation. The Center for Women in Business at Salem College was established in 2002 to give Salem students a distinct advantage in the marketplace through promoting Salem as the intellectual and physical center for the region's professional women and serving as a vital hub linking their students with professionals in the outlying business, government, and academic fields.

    WSSU logo

    Winston Salem State University

    Winston Salem State University is a HBCU founded in 1892 that encourages analytical problem solving. WSSU offers a rich curriculum rooted in a high-quality, liberal education. Winston Salem State University has been ranked in the Top Public Comprehensive Baccalaureate Colleges of the South.

    Forsyth Technical Community College

    Forsyth Technical Community College and its Small Business Center offer expert guidance for fledgling businesses, and further offers extensive courses in technology, engineering and practical skills to members of the community.

    Venture Cafe

    Venture Café

    As a member of a network with chapters in major cities around the world, Venture Cafe serves as a thriving center for entrepreneurship in Winston-Salem. Through regular programming and special events, this non-profit creates and enhances connections between innovators in our city.

    New Ventures Accelerator

    FlyWheel LLC streamlines startups by pairing institutional corporate partners with startup teams in their New Ventures Accelerator, giving them visibility into deal flow and later investment opportunities. The New Ventures Accelerator consists of three main parts: a Business Challenge, Accelerator, and an Investment Club powered by community donations and grants.

    Center for Creative Economy

    Championing existing creative enterprises and startups, the Center for Creative Economy hosts programs and services that catalyze the growth of creative businesses in the Triad and throughout the Southeast.  Its Creative Startups Accelerator brings a world class model to support business skill development for Southeastern based creatives, and its Swerve network provides connectivity and training for local creatives year round.

    WFU Center for Private Business

    Leverages the knowledge and experience of the nation’s #13 business school to provide connections among leaders in the community, lessons in management and networking opportunities through a Business Leader Forum. The Center for Private Business enables private businesses to succeed by providing programming that focuses on six topics: governance, leadership, succession planning, strategic planning, family harmony, and culture.


    A 24/7-community workspace that engages startups in Winston-Salem through activities such as ‘Startup Weekend’ and ‘Startup Grind fireside chats,’ as well as the promotion of business development and technology skills through the Flywheel Foundation; a fund for research, events, innovation challenges, business acceleration.

    And now, Winston Starts

  • Office Space

    Winston Starts’ most distinctive offering is our long, low-cost runway: 35,000 square feet of beautiful, inspiring space and incredible facility resources, available for up to 30 months at an extremely affordable rate.

    • Low-cost, monthly rent starts at just $125 per person for early-stage companies. (You can even defer payments to a later date if necessary.)
    • Rent provides members with exclusive, 24/7 card access to our safe and secure floors and to all of the resources Winston Starts has to offer, including:   
      • Nine reservable, high-tech meeting and video conferencing spaces;
      • Five private phone rooms;
      • Secure wifi and direct access to internet data lines for added security;
      • $30 towards printing every month;
      • Two full kitchens and cafés — snacks and refreshments included! — plus recreation and relaxation spaces;
      • Numerous customizable, state-of-the-art workspaces and
      • Open, creative and flexible coworking space that facilitates an atmosphere of collaboration and support among resident startups.  
    • For an additional $75 per person, private and semi-private suite space is also available for later-stage startups.
    • The fourth and fifth floors of 500 W. 5th St. can continue to be your home base for up to 30 months as you continue to hit your key goals and milestones.
    • Winston Starts is a non-profit dedicated to the commercial success of our resident companies. Rent is charged only to offset a small portion of operating costs.
  • Mentorship and Guidance

    Winston-Salem has a deep local pool of mentors ready and willing to provide ongoing guidance and support for resident companies. Further, our local network of professionals taps into a global network of experts for any competitive space represented in our resident company cohort. Each company admitted will have one or two mentors who have expertise in the competitive space and who have a deep desire to see our companies win.

  • Curriculum

    Startups at various stages face myriad decisions and challenges as they progress through stages of maturity. Winston Starts will provide teaching and individualized consultation in areas such as legal formation, capitalization, protecting intellectual property, basics of accounting, digital marketing, payroll and benefits, and more.

  • Negotiated Professional Services

    On behalf of its resident companies, Winston Starts will negotiate affordable fees and payment terms for professional services such as accounting, legal, and payroll.

  • Internship Support/Horsepower

    Winston Starts’ collaboration with local universities will create a win-win for the students and our resident companies alike. A year-round ready source of internships will mean intimate learning among students and a low-cost source of executional and thought horsepower for our resident companies.

  • Access to Capital

    Capital is key to fund startup, adaptation, and growth. Winston Starts will provide pitch coaching and practice to its resident companies and will make introductions to appropriate capital sources for their respective stages.