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Winston Starts and the WSSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Partnership

Winston-Salem State University’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation (CFESI) is excited to announce its partnership with local business incubator Winston Starts to sponsor a student to gain high-impact experiential training. This partnership was coordinated by WSSU’s Dr. Notis Pagiavlas, founding director of the CFESI and professor of marketing along with Winston Starts Director, Betsy Brown.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation was founded in 2008 to operate as a catalyst in creating and disseminating entrepreneurial knowledge through education, research, and community outreach programs. It contributes to the community’s economic transformation and the broader region, primarily focusing on the needs and circumstances of urban, minority, and economically disadvantaged populations. The center director encourages and supports aspiring entrepreneurs to become successful, ethical, and socially conscientious business leaders. 

Notis says, “The goals of this partnership are to strengthen the operations of Winston Starts and to provide high-impact learning opportunities to our students. It is the highest and most critical strategic priority of our institution.” 

The CFESI director has developed strong relationships with numerous partners and financial supporters to create programs that encourage entrepreneurial creation and innovative solutions to business and societal challenges. He supervises student associates and engages the broader community with workshops, consultations, modest financial support, venture creation, and strategic guidance.

As a pillar in the local business community Winston Starts is dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs and helping them develop and scale their business ideas to a level of sustainable success. They understand that startups need a network of nurturing, knowledgeable, and supportive people to help them take their business to the next level.

Winston Starts believes in providing real-world experience in all entrepreneurship areas and is happy to partner with local colleges and universities to offer such opportunities.

“We are thrilled to partner with WSSU to build a pipeline between students and our incubator. It is invaluable to get hands-on experience for students to apply what they learn in the classroom. We have many exciting projects here in our incubator to give them that exposure to all aspects of business and specifically to the entrepreneurial mindset,” said Brown, “We hope the partnership provides on-going opportunities for many students at WSSU to learn and develop their skills while lending their talents to our initiatives.”

The first recipient of this Twin City Development Foundation Scholarship is Tonia Edwards, a Junior studying Psychology and Business Administration. She is currently working with Winston Starts on various marketing and research projects.

Edwards has a passion for starting her own business in the future related to health and wellness and looks forward to applying what she learns at Winston Starts to her future endeavors. Her current business concept is called Naturally Sweet, and her goal is to create all-natural and sustainable skincare products, check out her products on Instagram at @naturallysweet.co. 

To learn more about WSSU’s business programming, please visit our Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship programming page.

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