Innovation Quarter announces the establishment of iQ Community Labs™

4 minute read

Bailey Power Plant

Effort will seek to mobilize business and global innovation network partners to form a “community of solutions” aimed at health and social equity in Winston-Salem

Innovation Quarter today announced the establishment of iQ Community Labs™, a partnership hub for ideating, developing and implementing breakthrough ideas in the space of health and social equity within and through one of the leading innovation districts in the world.

The aim of iQ Community Labs will be to mobilize traditional and non-traditional commercial partners who want to make a difference in scaling solutions aimed at improving health and social equity, then partner them with community organizations that are already focused on creating targeted solutions.

By tapping into the Innovation Quarter’s global network of innovation communities, iQ Community Labs will seek to bring new partners and possible investment, advanced technology and resources to the table. The effort will share physical space with iQ Healthtech Labs currently on the third floor of Bailey Power Plant.

Similar to its sister effort, iQ Healthtech Labs, iQ Community Labs is organized based on sectors of focus specific to the needs of the Innovation Quarter’s surrounding community:

  • Health Equity – Driving equal access to health care by evaluating and addressing social determinants of total health in individuals and the overall community.
  • Inclusive Community – Building bridges and sharing resources between Winston-Salem neighborhoods in order to maximize more equitable, diverse and inclusive community for all.
  • Startups & Small Business Scale – Improving access to tools, resources, funding and business opportunities for Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) businesses.
  • Education & Training Pipeline – Improving access to education and workforce training resources and opportunities necessary to move people into higher-paying jobs.
  • Spatial Justice – Studying and improving how spaces and places are designed and connected in order to maximize access to resources and activities for underserved populations

“Winston-Salem can be a city where the very best ideas aimed at health and social equity are ideated, developed, tested and then scaled to other communities,” said Lindsey Schwab, director of community relations for Innovation Quarter. “iQ Community Labs seeks to be the nexus where that happens– an effort where community organizations and partners that are already doing this work can link up with non-traditional commercial partners with the capacity to then help scale those solutions to maximize positive impact.”

Since the beginning, the Innovation Quarter has been a place not only for startups, research and healthtech efforts, but also a place to create community through events and as the home to organizations and efforts like the Downtown Health Plaza, Wake Forest School of Medicine’s DEAC Clinic, the ACCESS Center for Equity + Success, the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, and since 2017, the location for the annual Juneteenth Festival presented by Triad Community Arts.

“Winston-Salem State University has had a longstanding partnership with the Innovation Quarter,” said WSSU Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson. “The work they have done to develop an ecosystem of diverse people with innovative thoughts who are committed to moving the community forward has had a transformative impact on the city of Winston-Salem and its higher education institutions. WSSU takes pride in being a regional institution and will continue to be an anchor engine for Innovative Quarter initiatives.”

iQ Community Labs will seek to amplify the efforts of these organizations and more by partnering them with non-traditional commercial and business partners that want to make a difference and have the resources to help take existing and new ideas to scale.

“Ours is a creative and committed community,” said Julie Ann Freischlag, M.D., CEO of Wake Forest Baptist Health and dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “We look to be the conduit that brings together partners that nurture positive change in our communities.