If a startup ecosystem can’t thrive in a vacuum, then a startup certainly can’t either. It’s proven that the innovation process benefits from relationships—both within and across industries—and innovation districts provide the environment for building that essential network. The Innovation Quarter is just one facet of Winston-Salem’s startup ecosystem, but it’s an ideal place for startups and entrepreneurs to grow their vision.
What Do Startups Gain from Being in an Innovation District?
The Opportunity for Organic Collaboration
Innovation districts create spaces meant for organic collaboration. The mixed-use nature of innovation districts blends where a community lives, works and relaxes. This proximity allows for quick and seamless transfers of knowledge, ideas and perspectives.
In the Innovation Quarter, your startup can work upstairs from a pizzeria and brewery, in an office next to another startup or just down the hall from Wake Forest University’s Center for Biomedical Informatics. This proximity creates an environment ripe for serendipitous run-ins. Whether stopping for coffee from a craft chocolatier or attending a yoga session after work—you’re bound to run into someone making strides in their field.
Access to Network Building Programs and Events
Innovation districts are known for weaving together economic, physical and networking assets. Programming is just one way that startups can take advantage of the benefits born from converging these resources. Programming choreographs opportunities for professionals to strengthen ties to other professionals, work collectively to solve problems or attend workshops or training sessions on specific subjects.
Social interaction is not only at the center of innovation, but it’s at the core of the Innovation Quarter’s mission. Throughout the year, we host events and offer programs meant to educate and enrich. From cultural events to wellness activities, panels to networking events and town halls to business accelerators, the list of programs bolstering the community and providing opportunities for meaningful connections goes on and on.
The Ability to Form Cross-sector Relationships
Innovation districts grow stronger by clustering academic anchor institutions, research firms and entrepreneurs together and encouraging connections among them. The diverse mix of actors that play a role in an innovation district creates a network that fuels innovation across industries and markets.
iQ Healthtech Labs is a concierge service by the Innovation Quarter that partners Wake Forest Baptist Health experts and industry partners. We recognize the resources at our fingertips, and the potential impact cross-sector partnerships can have on designing, developing and scaling a product or service. iQ Healthtech Labs evaluates projects and provides a pathway for intentional collaboration. If you’re looking for resources—think healthcare systems with a regional footprint, research experts with backgrounds in regenerative medicine and incubators with funding—to help get your solution to market, and iQ Labs will pair you with the right fit.
Innovation Districts and Startup Ecosystems
When paths align, great things can happen—and that’s exactly what we see day in and day out. From seasoned researchers to eager entrepreneurs, a range of players have found their spot in the Innovation Quarter and are working together to build a stronger, more inclusive future for Winston-Salem’s community.