Thursday, September 22nd began early for members of the Small Business/Entrepreneurial Development (SBE) Advisory Council.
Our group met at the Chamber and then travelled together, (shout out to Excursions with Dani – a local small transportation business), to select destinations in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. The goal was to discover and learn about what Entrepreneurial Support Organizations (ESOs) in the Triad are doing to cultivate and nurture entrepreneurs and entrepreneurism.
The first stop was at Flywheel, a co-working space in downtown Winston-Salem. Our SBE Advisory Council met with Flywheel co-founder Peter Marsh and COO Andrea Howell. We discussed the Flywheel business model and how it serves its constituents. We also learned about the Flywheel Affiliate Program which may have potential in Alamance County. Following a tour of the enviable Flywheel space, we got back on our shuttle and had a driving tour of Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter.
Innovation Quarter’s mission is to drive economic growth and build a vibrant community. They believe that “Innovation Doesn’t Happen in Isolation.” By encouraging proximity through shared spaces and diverse business clusters, they envision an intentional system where both individuals and companies can thrive. It’s a culture where start-ups partner with global businesses, and an academic enterprise finds synergy with a tech company.
Following a lunch, the group then travelled to Greensboro. The first stop was at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship, a 20,000+ square foot small business incubator. Vice President Lisa Hazlett explained their concept, business model and programming as she toured the group through the facility. She also explained the next big project to serve entrepreneurs: The Steelhouse, an urban manufacturing and innovation center.
The final meeting for the day took place at transform Greensboro – in their newest facility on Bain Street in downtown Greensboro. Transform Greensboro provides private offices, co-working and meeting spaces for the Guilford County community. Not only that, the Greensboro Chamber’s Launch division is also embedded in their space. This brings support services directly to the place where entrepreneurs work. Lou Anne Flanders-Stec sat down with our group and explained how Launch Greensboro provides education, connections, and access to capital for its clients.
It was a very full day and the SBE Advisory Council returned with sore feet but heads full of ideas and inspiration on how to best design a comprehensive program for Alamance County entrepreneurs.