WINSTON-SALEM – The New Ventures Accelerator, a three-month business development program in Winston-Salem, is currently accepting applications for its 2020 cohort.
Startups that are accepted to the accelerator will get residency at Winston-Salem’s Flywheel Coworking (which heads up the program), gaining access to resources from organizations within the Triad’s startup ecosystem, including Venture Cafe Winston-Salem, Launch Greensboro, Hustle WS and the Center for Creative Economy.
Over three months, entrepreneurs will attend regular meetings to get tips and best-practices from experts and mentors, refine their business model, and develop and practice their pitch. The program culminates in a demo day where teams pitch to a panel of investors, competing for cash prizes and follow-on investments averaging $50,000 per team.
Applications are due by March 31 at 11:59 p.m.
Flywheel Coworking Program Director Adrian Smith says interest is high—the program is on track to exceed 200 applications, beating last year’s count.
“We have had a lot of hometown interest this year, as well as companies from across the state, and strong interest from companies considering relocating from Washington DC, Atlanta, London and New York City,” Smith adds.
Smith says there isn’t a particular industry or market segment that the program is targeting. With a diverse portfolio of startups spanning several industries, New Ventures seeks founders with integrity, leadership skills and discipline. Smith says, “We look for unique applications of technology to solve problems, and we look for growing markets.”
Next month, New Ventures’ selection committee (made up of investors) will narrow down the pool of applicants from 40 to 20 to 12 companies, which will be invited to pitch their businesses on May 2.
“At each of these selection periods, we apply increasingly critical lenses to the companies and ask ourselves how our group can add value to each company,” Smith says. “If we don’t have a clear value add, we will refer the company to another resource that’s better suited to serve them.”
While New Ventures is a competitive accelerator with limited spots, Smith says founders who aren’t sure if they’re ready for the program should go ahead and apply anyway. The selection committee can help funnel applicants to other resources in Winston-Salem and across the region. Flywheel Coworking’s Open Runway program offers a similar experience to the New Ventures Accelerator. With the same basic structure, Open Runway focuses on accountability through milestones, collaboration and connecting with local resources, but without the cohort and demo day components.
Entrepreneurs who are interested in the New Ventures Accelerator can learn more by tuning into an informational webinar on Tuesday, March 17 at 12 p.m.