WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — In a city like Winston-Salem that prides itself on innovation, entrepreneurship is still a difficult journey.

“We strive to help guide those individuals through that journey whether that’s connecting them to mentors, whether that’s connecting them to existing resources in the community, if and when we can that could mean connecting them to funding,” said Magalie Yacinthe.

She’s the founder of Hustle Winston-Salem, a non-profit that exists to facilitate and promote a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Winston-Salem Forsyth County community.

“A lot of times I’ve watched investors take the risk into entrepreneurs that don’t look like me, typically a white male, for an idea that I guess they believe in or they believe in their story or whatever it may be, and that’s great. But I would see someone that looks like me not get the same opportunity from the same investor and it’s like ‘what was it about that idea?'” she said.

She’s seen some progress. She talks about that progress and ways to keep it going in a partnership with the Winston-Salem chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and Triad Cultural Arts. They do it through a monthly online forum called “For the Culture.”

“Number one, people know who’s doing what,” explained Allan Younger. “Number two, people learn how they can participate in making our community better. A third thing is we want to challenge everyone to really think about the innovative solutions that need to be developed so that we can be better. There are a lot of things that are going really well in our community.”

Younger is with Alpha Phi Alpha. He’s also moderates “For the Culture.” Last year, each session focused on a principle of Kwanzaa. This year’s theme is “Falling Black in Love.” They started with highlighting the work of the Winston-Salem Chronicle.

“For more than 45 years, they’ve focused on the good news in the Black community. And that inspires us when we hear good news to want to create good news.”

“I think first I’m glad that For the Culture focuses on the Black community, but it’s open to everyone,” Yacinthe said. “I think as we experienced 2020, particularly I like to call it the post-George Floyd in our community, we found a number of people primarily in the white community a little bit more interested in learning and bettering themselves as it relates to race relations.”

For those people, she says conversations are the first step to change and continued progress.  

“I think this platform allows them an opportunity to come to a safe space, have the conversation, or at least listen to the conversation, hear about some things happening in the Black community directly from the Black community. It’s not pomp and circumstance. It’s a real conversation.”

“In the eight sessions we’ve had, we’ve never had an argument,” Younger added. “So many times in our community, we don’t agree on how to do things. The attitude during For the Culture is let’s celebrate, let’s hear from each other. Let’s build on the things that others say, and let’s go out and turn it into action.”

Next month’s conversation will be about brotherly love. They’ll follow that up in March with a conversation about sisterly love. If you want to register for these sessions, you can visit their website.