The event looks like a cross between your parent’s cocktail party and a crafts fair.
A bunch of people are dressed nicely, chatting pleasantly about anything and everything, surrounded by tables with items from one-of-a-kind handmade dolls to videos about trips to study dance around the world.
Welcome to the world of not just startup businesses, but the startup of creative businesses.
“There’s definitely the tendency of creative businesses to want to solve the major problems of the world,” says Margaret Collins, with a smile. She’s the executive director of the Center for Creative Economy – the only creative startup accelerator in the Southeast. CCE holds a program, each year, in which businesses that are deemed, “creative,” in nature that do online classes designed by successful executives for several weeks before an in-person mentoring week, in Winston-Salem.
“We had applications from Berlin, from Ghana, from Africa, all over Europe,” says Collins.
From people like a young couple from Wilmington, Eduardo Mora and his wife, Justine. Eduardo is from Chile and the idea he and Justine had was to teach computer coding much like Eduardo learned English.
“I think that coding is the language of the future,” says Eduardo. “Coding languages are like any other language – like English or Spanish – they have a grammar, they have a system that you have to follow,” says Eduardo. “I think coding is the language of the future.”
By the end of the week, much seed money is awarded and in this session, Shayla Herndon-Edmunds’ company, Oh My Goodness Herbal Bar, was named the best in show, winning $25,000.
“It’s going to mean that we get to expand. We’ve known for so long that we have a marketplace of women of all races and ethnicities that are waiting for us but especially African-American women who are looking for products that are healthy, that are made with people who understand them, that connect with their stories and their stories are mine,” says Shayla.