Advantages of Scaling Your Startup in a Mid-size City—Growing Your Startup in Winston-Salem

Aerial shot of Winston-Salem's Innovation Quarter, a mixed-use neighborhood perfect for startups.
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Ideas may come easy for entrepreneurs but scaling a new business venture requires much more than that. Funding, hiring, partnership development, office space, media engagement—the list of resources needed for growing a concept into a scalable product or service goes on.

Large cities have proven that their entrepreneurial ecosystems have the power to launch startups into the marketplace. It may be tempting to settle in Philadelphia and St. Louis to embark on your startup journey, but mid-sized cities like Winston-Salem have a unique set of resources and the environment you need to succeed.

Group of young professionals attending an entrepreneurial workshop in Winston-Salem.
Two young students work in a lab in Winston-Salem's downtown Innovation Quarter.

A City that’s Right-sized for You

Winston-Salem’s Cost of Living

You don’t need to do too much research before finding information about the rising housing and expenses of cities like Seattle or Chicago. Affordable cost of living is perhaps the most apparent advantage of a mid-sized city like Winston-Salem, which has been ranked one of the top three most affordable downtowns to live in by MSN and a top-five city for first-time homebuyers by Livability.

Location in Central NC

Winston-Salem is not only convenient to North Carolina’s largest metropolitan areas of Charlotte and Raleigh, but it’s also less than 30 minutes from the Piedmont Triad International Airport. This regional airport offers daily, non-stop flights to 16 cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.

Workspaces with Amenities

Whether you’re interested in a corporate office park or mixed-use environment, you’re bound to find one here that fits your startup’s personality and needs. Despite being a mid-sized city, Winston-Salem has various business districts that offer different sets of amenities. The Innovation Quarter is among the most diverse, offering a mix of retail, restaurant and living spaces nestled among office, laboratory and research space with flexible leasing terms.

A women paying for lunch at a food truck in Winston-Salem
A group of young women working sitting in a semi-private area of a coworking space in Winston-Salem.
Two young startup professionals having a conversation.

A Larger Presence—and the Connections to Amplify It

In a city like Winston-Salem, there’s a network of partners and support systems that will help your startup make connections and empower you to be a changemaker in your industry. The startup ecosystem is small enough that you won’t blend in with the crowd but robust enough to support your growth and amplify your message.

For example, as an Innovation Quarter tenant, you can leverage our iQ marketing team and media platforms to amplify your message and introduce your mission to the community and ecosystem. Through press releases, social media posts and formal programming, the Innovation Quarter will provide you with opportunities to promote your organization, network with other businesses and demonstrate your expertise.

An Accessible Network of Resources

The entrepreneurial ecosystems of mid-sized cities also have networks of support that are more accessible to early-stage startups. In Winston-Salem, you don’t need a big name to connect with big players or experts in their fields. A plethora of resources and a welcoming business climate combine to create a network available to you and a community dedicated to your success.

  • iQ Healthtech Labs is a personalized service that allows entrepreneurs to leverage the resources, expertise and footprint of Wake Forest Baptist Health to refine, test and scale new ideas.
  • Winston Venture Grants is an organization that seeks out future-focused, early-stage startups to join a year-long residency program that includes a $50,000 grant, acceleration and incubation services and investor connections.
  • Winston-Salem’s workforce is robust—thanks to the six local universities and colleges (including an HBCU) and a variety of focus industries such as technology, healthcare and life sciences and aviation and aerospace.
  • WellQ is an organization working to prioritize the physical and financial well-being of entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing convenient access to treatment for everyday illnesses and coaching and education services for financial health.

Scale Your Startup in Winston-Salem’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Young professionals in a startup ecosystem having a casual conversation outside.

Winston-Salem is a mid-sized city not to overlook. The city has fostered a network of formal and informal resources primed for supporting small businesses and startup ventures. With its friendly atmosphere and dedication to helping small businesses, startups have the potential to hit their stride in Winston-Salem.

See Where You Fit In

Winston-Salem’s startup ecosystem isn’t just for startups. Contact us to learn more about available resources and upcoming programs to help your venture grow.