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Innovation Quarter News

Venture Café Winston-Salem to Launch in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter; Search Underway for Program’s Executive Director

Venture Café today announced the expansion of its global network of weekly innovation and entrepreneurial gatherings to Winston-Salem in early 2017 in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter.

The growth of Venture Café builds on the success of its founding member, the Venture Café Foundation in Boston, Massachusetts which operates District Hall in Boston – the world’s first civic innovation center. Venture Café Winston-Salem will become part of a rapidly expanding global network that includes locations also in St. Louis, Missouri; Miami, Florida; and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

At the weekly meetings of Venture Café, hundreds of members of the innovation and startup communities in Boston, St. Louis, Miami and Rotterdam regularly gather to connect, engage and learn from each other and from experts from across the region. These weekly Venture Café gatherings are free to attend and provide a full slate of topics for people interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

As part of the expansion, Venture Café Winston-Salem is conducting a search for its founding Executive Director and will also seek to appoint a Program Director later in 2017. Interested applicants can visit the organization’s website at www.venturecafewinstonsalem.org.

“The growing innovation community in Innovation Quarter and Winston-Salem, City of Arts and Innovation, along with the support of the businesses and institutions in the city made the decision to expand here a compelling one,” said Travis Sheridan, president of the Venture Café Global Institute. “We are looking forward to appointing a founding Executive Director of Venture Café Winston-Salem with relationships in the community, start-up experience and non-profit management experience.”

Venture Café Winston-Salem will seek to align with existing organizations and programs in Winston-Salem, such as Flywheel’s New Ventures Accelerator, Forsyth Technical Community College’s Small Business Center, the Creative Startups program hosted by the Center for Creative Economy and others to amplify their impact. It will also add to the series of free community events offered within the Innovation Quarter including Network Night, Yoga at Bailey Park, Boost, Innovation & Cinema and Engage.

“The addition of Venture Café Winston-Salem to the Innovation Quarter fits perfectly with our mission to drive economic growth and build vibrant community,” said Eric Tomlinson, president of Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “We have a unique opportunity through Venture Café to bolster the innovation ecosystem in Winston-Salem by fostering entrepreneurship Winston-Salem as an ideal place to start and grow businesses and social enterprises.”

David Mounts, Co-Chair for the Entrepreneurial Culture Committee of the Winston-Salem Alliance, and Chairman and CEO of Inmar, says that “Recent visitors to Winston Salem quickly realize that it has evolved to be one of the world’s leading innovation districts. The Piedmont Triad is also now recognized as a top business environment for starting a new business. Joining Venture Café’s network provides important support and easy access for those seeking to invest in innovation and unique growth that is now occurring in our city and region.”