entrepreneurship

Tag: entrepreneurship

The Future of the Food Economy

Spring brings so much to the table and March’s meetup was all about FOOD!

The Center for Creative Economy launched the Bonfire Encore series as a response to the Beta Bonfires hosted by IdeasCity WS and Wake Forest University. This third convo in our three-part series welcomed seasoned creatives whose engagement with the world as an editable landscape, engaged in delicious conversation about the potential for Winston Salem to stand out as a uniquely sustainable foodie destination.

CCE’s panel featured Winston-Salem based Margaret Norfleet Neff (founder of Beta Verde & Cobblestone Farmers Market) and NYC based Hospitality consultant Keith Durst (principal at FOC).

Why Winston Salem?

The City of Arts and Innovation is catching the attention of developers around the world. Our community is easily accessible as a destination, lively, diverse and heavily invested in the local economy. So much is coming to our Twin City, which constantly begs the question, How do we center our history and push the boundaries of art and creativity? Durst and Norfleet-Neff agree on most, including: Winston Salem is almost unmatched when it comes to the culinary arts and there is so much potential for different elements of the food economy to thrive. We wonder what makes the most sense about investing is our beautiful and varied landscape?

1. Accessibility. From an outsiders perspective, WS is extremely accessible. Our local airport, PTI, offers micro and macro connectivity to the whole country AND every corner of the Triad. Light traffic, ample parking and the lush greenery of WS are always reasons to come back. “Whenever I tell my team we are headed down to WS we always have a ton of volunteers!” said Durst. 

2. Good People. If there is a focus and intensity around it Winston Salem has almost all the components.

3. Local. Local. Local. Both speakers remind us of the value in our environment. From land to water to wildlife to education, the NC landscape is clean and ripe with potential. As businesses turn to local farmers, growers and entrepreneurs in order to offer a uniquely local product the value stands out – creating a well rounded and sustainable economy.

4. Room to Grow. We are in the middle of palpable growth in Winston Salem and there is so much room for more. Statistics show, young families have chosen Winston to grow sustainable businesses, families and futures. More importantly, young adults see the Triad as a place to come home, a place to stretch your unique wings and be celebrated for doing so. 

Catalyzing the LOCAL Food Economy

Winston Salem is already a great balance of urban and rural but in order to scale the local food economy we must prioritize that balance. We can’t just draw on the local economy to help build people up, we must capitalize on something innovative. Food touches so many silos of our lives and our wallets that a daily and intentional balance of social, economical and cultural sustainability is necessary to ignite change. 

1. Create Subsidy.  Currently federal programs and subsidies direct mass food distribution via chain grocery stores and their essential workers. To get these pieces out of federal hands and into local pockets, Norfleet-Neff and Durst stress a focus on creating local subsidies that center our food producers and makers. 

2. Liveable Wages. Durst says, challenging state requirements and investing in hospitality workers so that they may earn, live and thrive in Winston Salem is key. Many communities don’t view serving and hospitality work as a career opportunity. The next steps are to create career paths in hospitality and elevate base positions so that people root themselves in the community and seek viable options for growth. 

3. Equity in Access. Shared use kitchens are especially helpful, and an area of expertise for Norfleet-Neff, as they enable access where space, time and equipment might not be available. Utilizing college and university connections to prioritize training and expand access, at the foundation, to marginalized communities. 4. Break Barriers. Work to eliminate the middle-man and modulate costs associated when connecting local producers with large-scale consumers.  Creating a strong pass-through accelerator to help grow opportunities for producers to scale their businesses.

4. Break Barriers. Work to eliminate the middle-man and modulate costs associated when connecting local producers with large-scale consumers.  Creating a strong pass-through accelerator to help grow opportunities for producers to scale their businesses.

Free to be You and Me 

The entrepreneurial attitude lives deeply in Winston Salem, the Triad and North Carolina. We’re home to a vibrant ecosystem and the momentum to nurture hospitality entrepreneurship. The more collaboration, communication and embracing of food makers and producers the better. Getting people together from all over the city, committed to working together toward a sustainable food economic model, becomes a part of the fabric of the community and a space where everyone gets to shine.

CCE is grateful to all our panelists for participating in the third chapter of our Bonfire Encore series. Hosted through our Momentum network, CCE focuses on offering inspiring conversations and networking that can lead to actionable projects. Join us next month for a new series, Momentum Mash-up: The Mixtape! Our April 15th event will feature entrepreneurs who mash-up tech with their creative passions to address key issues. Register here!

Is Video Right for your Business? The When, Where, and How of Effective Video

February’s Momentum meetup focused on the role video can play in the development of your business.  This informational and inspiring discussion was led by Seth Wingate, founder and owner of Twin City Media, and Adam Flasch, assistant director at Twin City Media.

Seth Wingate

Our two creative entrepreneurs provided an analysis of how video can be a positive catalyst for your business, if used effectively. Flasch, taking a page from Simon Sinek, explains that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. He outlines a customer’s unconscious journey from the awareness/emotional stage to the purchase/rational stage. First, in the emotional stage, we want customers to engage and become aware of our business or product. Next, we want to elicit a response from our customers and have them begin to interact with our business. Finally, in the rational stage, we want our customers to convert and purchase our product. 

In terms of video, you first need to develop strong brand positioning through storytelling and shared values. In storytelling, it is important to make the customer the primary focus while shared values can create a sense of closeness between the brand and the customer. After creating a connection with the customer, you want them to engage socially through service details, walkthroughs, company FAQs, sales representatives, and landing pages. The advocate stage, Flasch explains, follows the engagement stage and is unique to video marketing. Customer advocacy is about ensuring the customer’s satisfaction with the product. We can do this through personalized thank you’s, CRM-driven milestones, and instructional videos.

Adam Flasch

In video marketing, knowing your audience is key. Utilizing a customer avatar worksheet with diverse demographics, Twin City Media helps businesses determine their target customer. With their unique worksheet a businesses  can analyze the  behaviors your target demographic habitually exhibit by asking clarifying questions about search history and social media use. Finally, Flasch suggests you  delve into a target groups psychographics by asking what their short-term and long-term goals are, the current challenges they face, and what motivates them.

Garnering customer information is essential and equally as important is communication with your videographer and editing team. Wingate gave tips when contacting a video production company. The first goal is to begin with an end in mind, making sure there is an agreed upon and understood purpose to your video(s). The second goal is to find the right partner given your business needs. The third goal is to stand firm in your concept and flexible in your budget; don’t give up on something just because it is ‘expensive’.  Consider video marketing a long-term investment, capable of converting customers for years, and add it to your budget accordingly. The fourth and final goal is to stay involved in your project and monitor its progress frequently. 


CCE is grateful to Seth and Adam from Twin City Media  for an engaging and inspiring conversation. Momentum returns on March 18th focusing on the Future of the Food Economy with local Margaret Neff, founder of Cobblestone Farmers Market & Beta Verde and Keith Durst, Principal in FOC  from NYC.   Join us!

Makers and Shakers: Using Art and Tech to Disrupt and Inspire Change for Racial Equity

January’s Momentum meetup focused on the role art and technology can play in identifying and overcoming racial inequalities.  This Momentum meetup was moderated by Ryan Schmaltz, Director of UNCSA’s Media and Emerging Technology Lab (METL) and Mentor to participants of CCE’s Velocity Accelerator.  This powerful and inspiring discussion was led by Larry Barron “LB the poet”, founder of Word Academy in Winston-Salem, NC and Glenn Cantave, founder of Movers and Shakers in New York City.  

Glenn Cantave

Our two panelists are working to break down and create a sense of positive change around racial inequality through creativity.  LB uses poetry as his vehicle for change.  His creativity began at the age of 12 when his principal encouraged him to express feelings in writing after an emotional time in his life. Her reactions to his attempt ignited a spark that became his springboard into poetry. And today, LB uses his incredible gifts to provide a therapeutic outlet for youth and catalyze literacy education.  He believes poetry is one of the most powerful art forms which uses words to relate to people.  Another pivotal experience occurred when Maya Angelou visited LB’s school.  He recognized how she utilized words to empower people, and also as an avenue to speak out about controversial subjects. LB infuses the power of his words to shape and motivate the minds of youth while creating a universal platform for poets and nonpoets alike to express their truths.   

LB has also recently founded the FEAR Academy (Future Entrepreneurs Activating Reality).  He inspires young people to not only create art, but to develop business skills, and think like entrepreneurs as they develop their creative ideas.    

LB The Poet

Glenn is a performance artist, activist, social entrepreneur and founder of Movers and Shakers NYC.  His work uses immersive technology to shed light on the oppressed.  He and his team create interactive images via augmented reality to disrupt and reframe social norms in the classroom, cultural institutions and public spaces.  The goal of their work is to bring more equitable representations of diverse cultures into the classroom.  Augmented reality superimposes the visual world into a digital world via technology.  Glenn sees art as the entry point to education.  The wow factor of AR draws kids into history and exposes them to legendary characters in a totally new way.  Glenn finds that using AR technology “takes the labor out of learning” and reaches kids that previously had no interest in history.  The immersive experience provides an exciting incentive to explore the story.  Movers and Shakers promotes positivity in their work by teaching youth of color about people that look like them and empowering them to appreciate and embrace their value.   

Movers and Shakers will be producing their augmented reality work in Winston Salem this Spring as part of the Ideas City WS festival.  They are currently seeking nominations for important figures in Winston Salem history that are African American, or people of color.  You can nominate a person for this project at this link. 

The Center for Creative Economy is grateful to our panelists and moderator for an engaging and inspiring conversation. Momentum returns on February 18th focusing on The When, Where, and How of Effective Video led by Seth Wingate and Adam Flasch of Twin City Media.  Join us!

A Community Driven Purpose: The Core of Human-Centered Design

This December, The Center for Creative Economy launched the Momentum Bonfire Encores series as a response to the Beta Bonfires hosted by IdeasCity WS and Wake Forest University. The bonfires feature creative entrepreneurs and their engagement with the world as an editable landscape ripe for intervention. Hosted through our Momentum network, CCE partnered with IdeasCity Winston Salem to continue these conversations and establish a focus on art, design, and technology.

Momentum’s December meetup highlighted human-centered design, a problem-solving approach that empowers individuals and businesses to design products, services, systems, and experiences that address the core needs of people. CCE’s panel was moderated by Karen Wong (Deputy Director of the New Museum in New York City) and included Krystal Persaud (founder of Group Hug Solar) and Winston-Salem based design guru Adam Sebastian (co-founder and architect at Stitch Design Shop). Imen Maaroufi Clark, Chief Strategy Officer of Point Motion, worked with CCE to host the virtual event via Zoom.

Krystal Persaud

The panelists derive purpose from the communities their products serve. Krystal Persaud targets the totality of communities, serving not only people but their surrounding environments. Her company GroupHug represents the intersection of creativity, design, and sustainability and strives to create a world where renewable energy is user-friendly, accessible, and aesthetic. Persaud designed the Window Solar Charger to (physically) get solar energy into people’s hands, establishing a small step to large scale environmental change. “Everything you design is an opportunity to teach someone something,” she said. GroupHug was designed to be “aggressively friendly.” Persaud wanted to associate renewable energy with a smile, to change perceptions of how people perceive energy. Her background as a toy designer enabled her to design an educational yet beautiful product that could help people understand climate change in a digestible way.

Adam Sebastian

Adam Sebastian also understands the importance of community engagement. His work is client-focused and community driven. When asked about the role of designers, Sebastian said “designers have a higher calling.” They must understand the community with which they are working, and have the power to tell a story or teach a lesson with their work. When Sebastian started his company, his partners did not want to pigeonhole themselves into the category of architecture. His team included artists, designers, and much more. Their goal was to be a conduit, to help their community find purpose through design. By “stitching together” elements of design, artitecture, art, and community development, Sebastian’s team decided to name their company Stitch. The business connects clients with dedicated designers to initiate large-scale community projects. One of Sebastian’s most well-known works is the ARTivity On The Green in downtown Winston Salem, which he describes as a “public art project that is a history lesson.” Incorporating elements of Winston Salem’s history and geography into the project, Sebastian pays homage to the industrial past of Winston Salem through his creation of a city park. In developing a project, Sebastian emphasized the importance of understanding a client’s goals from the start. According to Sebastian, designers have a duty to ground a client’s idea in pragmatism. 

Both Persaud and Sebastian believe that design has multiple objectives. For Persaud, good design has an opinion, a stance on how to best creatively tackle an issue. Her solar panels serve as both household decorations and educational platforms, and sustainable energy sources. Sebastian believes designers have a duty to help humankind get through challenging times. His work has enabled his community to realize its own uniqueness and open its eyes to various social issues. He says that the more a company can be inclusive and open minded, the better its results will be.

CCE is grateful to all our panelists for participating in the first chapter of our Bonfire Encore series. Join us next month for a continuation of our conversation, this time focused on racial equity and social action. Our January 21st event will feature entrepreneurs using art and immersive technology to disrupt and inspire change. Register here!