[ May 3, 2022 by Alyson Gammons 0 Comments ]

Creative Entrepreneurs Win Seed Funding and Resources for Growth at Velocity Accelerator Demo Day

Three east coast based startups will share $50,000 in seed-stage funding from the Center for Creative Economy’s Velocity Creative Accelerator based in Winston-Salem. 

The Velocity Accelerator culminated in a pitch competition September 30th followed by an Awards Breakfast on October 1st. The organization’s sixth annual accelerator brings creative startups from across NC and the US together to complete a 10-week entrepreneur education program to refine their business plan, marketing strategy, and prepare pitches to investors. The top three startups split a pool of $50,000 in seed-stage investment. 

Leah Wyrick, founder of Three Strands Recovery Wear in Winston-Salem, NC took the top award of $25,000, presented by Kyle Haney of Forsyth County’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Three Strands Recovery Wear is a recovery garment company with a current focus on post-operative bras for mastectomies and other breast surgeries. Leah was also awarded $2,000 in software consultation from Sightsource to further develop her technology, and pro bono legal services from Kilpatrick Townsend. 

Rahul Kulkharni founder of Sukhi in Washington, D.C. received the second-place award of $15,000 with their startup that is strengthening resilience in the modern workforce to foster corporate wellness, collaboration and reduce burnout. Rahul also received $1,000 in software consulting from Sightsource, and pro bono legal services from Kilpatrick Townsend. 

Running third, receiving $10,000, was My Relief Wear LLC, founded by Mary McElya of Greenville, SC. My Relief Wear is patent-pending cold therapy clothing that transforms the process of icing painful aches and joints. The garments provide freedom of mobility, thin anti-leak packs, and a fresh cool look. Mary also received $2,000 in software consulting from Sightsource, and pro bono legal services from Kilpatrick Townsend. 

Daryl Shaw, founder of Royalty Marketing, presented two marketing and social media awards for 20 hours of marketing services each to: 

JSQ Designs, founder Jenna Anderson, an apparel manufacturer that creates unique and inclusive button down shirts from scratch in Winston-Salem, NC. JSQ creates items that are unique and authentic for the customer.

Frogshop, Founder Malcolm Egun, of Newark, NJ, who has created software specifically for gyms to streamline their business mixing fitness with ecommerce. Malcolm partners with more than 50 dropship suppliers in the health & fitness industry and provides cloud-based automation that helps small to mid-sized eCommerce businesses automate and deliver products. Malcolm also received $4,000 in technology software consulting from Sightsource, 

Winston Starts President, Bob Boles also welcomed Frogshop and JSQ Designs into the Explore program, an 8 week discovery program for startups to get acquainted and develop inside Winston-Salem’s own scalerator. After Explore, the founders pitch to determine their potential for year round admission. 

Luna Creative, founder Cordelia Norris, of Wilmington, NC, a design and marketing studio that helps clients create positive change, with a focus on sustainability. Cordelia received $3,000 in technology software consulting from Sightsource, 

Each cohort member was also awarded a business coaching package from ActionCOACH – Team Hauser, based in Winston-Salem. 

Founders from 11 U.S. states and 11 countries applied to participate in this year’s accelerator. Of the 6 startups chosen for the program, 67% are run by women entrepreneurs and 50% are BIPOC founders

According to Executive Director, Margaret Collins, “The cohort made great progress during Velocity this year. They emerged strong, ready to launch and earn revenue. Our robust mentor pool deserves high praise for their customized coaching of each founder to deliver what was needed each week.” 

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