Creative Startups, the national startup accelerator program, announced the Southeastern winners of $50,000 in funding to three creative entrepreneurs.Embodied Labs, Chicago, took the top $25,000 prize; The Feeling Friends, Winston-Salem, NC, received$15,000; and Muddy Creek Café & Music Hall, Winston-Salem, received $10,000. More than 100 applicants applied to the program from 19 countries and 21 states, including Washington, DC.
"Winston-Salem was the perfect place to host this program," said Winston-Salem Mayor, Allen Joines, who declared September 25 to 30 as Creative Startups Week. "Our creative economies have grown more than 17 percent in the past five years. What these companies are doing will pay great dividends in the future."
Creative Startups' educates companies on business development and affords access to venture funding. Hosted by the Center for Creative Economy, the program was sponsored by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts with partnerships from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, City of Winston-Salem,Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, private businesses and community leaders.
Carrie Shaw, Erin Washington, Ryan Lebar and Thomas Leahy created Embodied Labs to use immersive, interactive, virtual reality experiences for health training. "In the same way that being part of Creative Startups opened our eyes to our business possibilities, we are working to help healthcare open its eyes to better care for vulnerable patient populations."
The Feeling Friends by Karen Cuthrell creates toys and education materials for parents, caregivers, educators, and clinicians to teach children how to identify, express and manage their feelings.
Muddy Creek Café & Music Hall, started by Shana Whitehead and Bill Heath, will use funding to expand operations that emphasize hearty food, great conversation, and live music.
"These companies are getting their start here; but their work will impact many people around the world," saidCorey Madden, executive director of the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts.
Other companies in the program included:
- Alan Henderson Studio, Winston-Salem, a modern stationer.
- Bodhe, Kernersville, NC, develops therapeutic medical apparel.
- Devoted Human, Asheville NC, offers artist- and craftsman-made cat and dog products.
- M.I.D. Goods, Nashville, TN, produces silkscreened prints and goods.
- Partnr, Atlanta, links resources in creative industries.
- Redress Raleigh, Raleigh, NC, supports eco-conscious fashion designers.
- Taller Nu, Mexico City, Mexico, creates fashion while employing prison inmates.