In an unprecedented and historic demonstration of solidarity, Winston-Salem State University joined leaders from five other colleges and universities in Winston-Salem – each pledging to incentivize entrepreneurship among their students and alumni through a series of programs based on areas of focus and unique visions.
The announcement was made the first week of May at Inmar during the inaugural meeting of Venture Café Winston-Salem.
WSSU has pledged to create an award to support projects from students and alumni that creatively addresses some of society’s pressing issues, such as health equity, sustainable communities and economic development. The $100,000 fund will support projects over the next three fiscal years and focus on communities around WSSU. Award recipients will be selected based on the strength of their team, the innovativeness of their proposal, and the potential to address broad social issues.
“As the largest public state university here in Winston-Salem, the majority of our students are from the area and many more will stay here when they graduate, contributing to the economy of the city,” Chancellor Elwood L. Robinson said. “This program is an opportunity for us to join with our higher-education partners and those in the business community to build a spirit of entrepreneurship here in Winston-Salem. Through this exciting program, we will leverage the creativity and talents of WSSU students and alumni to help them tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.”
Robinson was joined by leaders from the Forsyth Technical Community College, Piedmont International University, Salem College, University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Wake Forest University.
“This collaboration sends a very clear message that if you are a student or alumni of a Winston-Salem college or university and you have a great idea, you will be supported here – through your school, this grant program, the Innovation Quarter, Venture Café, the Winston-Salem Alliance – Winston-Salem has come together to support innovators,” said David Mounts, chairman and chief executive of Inmar and co-chair of the entrepreneurial committee of Winston-Salem Alliance.