2021 VelocityPress
[ May 3, 2022 by Alyson Gammons 0 Comments ]

Discover the Next Big Thing in Creative Entrepreneurship  

Winston-Salem, NC (September 24, 2021)- 6 finalists of the Velocity Creative Accelerator will present their innovative businesses during this year’s hybrid in-person and virtual Demo Day on Thursday, September 30. This is the sixth creative accelerator hosted by the Center for Creative Economy (CCE) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. 

The 6 creative companies have been participating in a 10-week intensive education and mentoring program that culminates with the top three startups splitting a pool of $50,000 in seed-stage investment. Demo Day is the culmination of Velocity Week, a five day program featuring customized content and mentoring.   

During Demo Day, each participant will be pitching and showcasing their creative businesses to prospective funders, businesses, and the community. 

At this event, you can explore in-person demo tables and hear each startup pitch. Funding awards will be announced at the end of the program.

Date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 

Time: In-person Demo Tables open at 4 pm. 

In-person and virtual program begins at 4:30 pm.

Where: Winston Starts @ 500 West 5th Street, 4th Floor, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Virtual Option Available.

Registration: The event is free, and registration is required:

https://bit.ly/DD2021V,  link for virtual attendees available after registration.

Please note, in accordance with CCE Covid safety protocols, CCE is asking all in-person DEMO DAY attendees to show proof of their vaccination card or a negative Covid test administered by 9/27 or a more recent date for admittance into the event. 


Since its inception in 2016, CCE’s creative accelerator program has launched 50+ companies, with 82% still in business, having made $9.9 million in revenue, raising $13.1 million in investments, and having created 167 jobs. “Our startups have made huge strides each year. We are proud of their great work serving customers and growing their businesses. The 2021 cohort is no exception, and I’m sure will do very well in the marketplace,” says Margaret Collins, CCE’s Founding Executive Director.  

The new cohort’s companies challenge old ways of doing business and offer new, creative solutions:

  • JSQ Designs (Winston-Salem, NC):  An apparel manufacturer that creates unique and inclusive button-down shirts from scratch in Winston-Salem, NC. 
  • Frogshop (Newark, NJ): Software specifically for gyms to streamline their business and most importantly, learn their member’s online shopping behaviors. 
  • My Relief Wear LLC (Greenville, SC):  Moving closer, every day, to making pain relief and comfort synonymous. Tomorrow is the day we don’t have to stop to ice.
  • Luna Creative (Wilmington, NC):  A design and marketing studio that helps clients create positive change, with a focus on sustainability. 
  • The Sukhi Project (Washington DC):  Team/Employee digital wellness programming in the modern workplace to foster effective collaboration and reduce burnout – ultimately resulting in added employee contribution. 
  • Three Strands Recovery Wear (Winston-Salem, NC): Garment company with a current focus on post-operative bras for mastectomies, breast reconstruction, augmentation, reduction, and other breast cosmetic surgeries. 

Since July 27th, 2021, the Velocity participants have engaged in a robust curriculum developed by CCE in collaboration with Chris Mumford, Professor of Practice at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. This rigorous, street-smart curriculum is organized around the themes of Create, Tell, Sell, and Run, focusing on customer development, financial forecasting, business model, and product-market fit. Startups have worked with seasoned business mentors to guide them through the program.

2021 VelocityPress
[ 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.” 

2021 VelocityPress
[ April 21, 2021 by Shelby Newsome 0 Comments ]


CCE announced today that applications are open for the 2021 Velocity Creative Accelerator. Applications can be submitted through June 6 at https://www.f6s.com/velocity-creative-accelerator-2021/apply.

Now in its fifth year, Velocity, conducted in collaboration Chris Mumford of Kenan Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill, is a 10-week accelerator designed for the creative entrepreneur. Through a high impact, creative startup specific curriculum, teams gain the knowledge and tools to better think, create, tell, sell and run their businesses. 

Ten seed-stage startups will be selected to take part in the program beginning July 27 with a Kick Off Weekend and ending with Velocity Week in Winston Salem Sep 26-Oct 1. At the conclusion of the program, participants will have the opportunity to pitch their business models to investors and industry partners at the 2021 Velocity Demo Day with the potential to receive equity-free seed funding of up to $25,000.

Past participants of the Velocity Creative Accelerator have won numerous awards from such prestigious entities as NC IDEA, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CVS, US Department of Education, New Schools Venture Fund, and numerous accelerators and incubators where they receive follow-up funding. Winston Salem based teams are encouraged to apply to Winston Starts, a partner incubator where companies laser focus on scaling and success.

“As a creative company in the Ed Tech space, Velocity trained me well, and guided me so that I now have a clear direction,” said Chelsea Goodwin, founder of The Agent Accelerator.  “I also learned the value of mentorship, and am eager to learn from the best! I feel prepared and ready to rock my business this year!”

Winston Salem is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, that welcomes creativity and innovation. The Center for Creative Economy partners with Winston Starts, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, Flywheel, Agile City, HUSTLE, and REACH Women’s Network. There’s a growing synergy throughout Winston-Salem that embraces creative entrepreneurs as part of the robust economy.

“Creative companies in search of business resources, exposure and collaboration with large mentor networks should look no further than the Velocity Creative Accelerator,” said Margaret Collins, Founding Executive Director of CCE. “This year’s program will continue to build on what we’ve accomplished in bridging creatives to the resources they need to launch, grow, and accelerate their businesses.” 

Visit velocity.ccetriad.com to learn more.