Centers and Initiatives
Winston-Salem State University fosters greater collaboration with the community and develops new services and programs to address community needs while enriching the learning experiences of our students. With an educational approach anchored in active and experiential learning, our curriculum reflects high-impact practices that support student learning and success.
The Center for Entrepreneurship operates as a catalyst in the creation and dissemination of entrepreneurial knowledge through education, research, and community outreach programs. We contribute to the economic transformation of the broader region, especially focusing on the needs and circumstances of urban, minority, and economically disadvantaged populations. We accomplish our mission by encouraging and supporting aspiring entrepreneurs to become successful, ethical, and socially conscientious business leaders.
Since its inception in the fall of 2006, the founding director of the CFE has initiated programs and activities that have significantly increased entrepreneurial knowledge of WSSU students and the surrounding community.
The annual business plan competition has provided funding and mentoring opportunities for 67 student teams to date that compete for prizes and networking opportunities. The participating students represent different departments and programs across the university. The competition is designed to enhance experiential learning and to provide an additional avenue for students to sharpen their skills and continue their studies with the option of creating their own venture someday.
The LEED certified Enterprise Center (EC) at 1922 South Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in Winston-Salem by the S. G. Atkins Community Development Corporation (CDC) serves as a business incubator or, more accurately, a nursery. It provides space to accommodate community needs, to include arts, a computer lab, a health resource center, on-site job training and language classes, faith-based initiatives, athletic events, gardening, and many others. In there one could argue that we provide a “laboratory” for business projects that sustain and grow our community by utilizing the tremendous energy and resourcefulness of WSSU undergraduate and graduate students. The mixed-use facility with the guidance of the CFE blends educational programs while it supports new ventures by becoming a hub for networking, training, supporting and counseling for approximately forty associates. This project has attracted extensive media attention from the original announcement to an article with the very interesting title: "Joint venture in learning," to more recent news in the WSSU RAMPages.
In addition, the CFE has offered numerous seminars listed below with financial support from DataMax and BB&T Foundations. We shared with participants the critical tools and strategies of low-cost social media to reach target markets. Jenny and Ashlee were partners in the financial industry until the economy took a nosedive a few years ago. Out of a job, they suddenly realized what they were really meant to do in their life: make pickles. The company not only survived the difficult formative period, but it is present in hundreds of retailing outlets, and has started exporting its products to China!
Folks from Siemens Siemens AG, Infrastructure & Cities Sector, Building Technologies Division, Solutions & Services Portfolio were invited to share with associates and graduate students the key components of sustainable energy strategies.
Teens Engaged in Aspiring Mentorships, and Uplifting Partnerships (TEAMUP), is an annual foster youth program designed to inspire leadership, entrepreneurial creation, career options, and life skills to one of the most vulnerable populations in our communities. The intentional blend of educational and social activities enhances awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of what it takes to succeed within the free enterprise system. It was also the recipient of a “Best Practice” award for community collaborations from the N. C. Association of County Directors of Social Services (NCACDSS). TEAM-UP was recognized by NCACDSS for the partnership that brings together the resources necessary to implement that plan, as well as for its innovation.
The CFE director also has brought every year student teams to the annual business plan competition organized by the Opportunity Fund Corporation (OFC) in Atlanta, Georgia. This prestigious event brings together teams from over twenty HBCU institutions to defend their business plans in front of a panel of expert judges and investing groups. The learning experience itself is enhanced by tremendous career opportunities for WSSU students that have the energy and dedication to compete.
Finally, our efforts did not go unnoticed on a state and federal level with a major grant of over $1.2 million awarded by the Department of Economic Administration. To present the award to regional and state leaders, the EC hosted US Senator Hagan and Mayor Joines. Senator Hagan commented, “This place is absolutely phenomenal. This is what it is all about. This is what is going to produce jobs in Winston-Salem, it is going to produce jobs in North Carolina, and it is going to help our unemployment rate go down.”
Notis Pagiavlas, Ph.D.
Professor of Marketing
RJ Reynolds Center, Rm 303
The mission of the Center of Excellence in Financial Services is to promote the study of personal finance topics in the context of a career in personal financial planning. To accomplish this mission, the CEFS will:
- Maintain registration of the undergraduate financial planning curriculum with the CFP Board of Standards, Inc.
- Establish and maintain active liaison with local and regional investment and financial planning professionals.
- Establish a Board of Advisors consisting of faculty and financial planning professionals. The purposes of this board are to insure curriculum relevancy, enhance student learning experiences in and outside the classroom and seek competitive internships for qualified students.
- Seek opportunities for personal financial planning students to conduct seminars for WSSU students, area high school students and selected other community groups. This will be accomplished through on-site visits and presentations in addition to activities at Winston Tower and on the WSSU campus.
- Sponsor visiting presenters for seminars open to all university students and faculty. These seminars will cover a variety of topics in personal and corporate finance, career counseling, community awareness/service and appropriate national and international business-related issues.
Director Center of Excellence in Financial Services
Reynolds Center, Rm 111
Winston-Salem State University’s Center for Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM) launched in September 2017 with a $3 million grant from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Center for Advancing Opportunity (CAO), an initiative supported by The Charles Koch Foundation and Koch Industries. The CAO focuses on researching barriers to opportunity in fragile communities. WSSU is the first announced center from CAO.
The SBTDC’s professional staff are highly experienced and knowledgeable – most have prior business ownership or executive experience and over 70 percent have graduate degrees. This depth and diversity of talent positions the SBTDC to help businesses address a broad spectrum of issues including: planning, financial management, human resources, marketing, and operations. Additionally, the diverse backgrounds of our staff allow us to match our services to client needs and provide industry-specific advice and counseling.
Our professional staff establishes valued relationships with SBTDC clients designed to produce meaningful and effective results. The SBTDC places a high value on professional development and provides quality, relevant training to our staff to keep them in a position to best help North Carolina businesses grow and flourish.
Nurturing Success in Business and Neighborhoods
The Simon Green Atkins Community Development Corporation (SGACDC) is a non-profit organization that strives to foster community-based leadership focused on revitalizing the neighborhoods surrounding Winston-Salem State University.
The Board of the S.G. Atkins CDC has defined its Primary Service Area as the three U.S. Census Tracts near the Winston-Salem State University campus. These tracts (#’s 8.01, 8.02, and 7) form the CDC’s Primary Service Area.
The Primary Service Area’s three Census Tracts (as shown on map to the right) include the Columbia Heights neighborhood immediately surrounding the university, and neighborhoods on both sides of U.S. 52 from New Walkertown Road south to the Waughtown Street area, including the East Winston and Mount Olive neighborhoods.
The CDC’s Primary Service Area is linked in many ways with surrounding neighborhoods and the greater Triad region in terms of residents, employment and retail trade.
Adjacent neighborhoods include the historic Waughtown neighborhood to the south and the Morningside Manor neighborhood to the east. To the west lies the West Winston neighborhood, characterized by its institutions (Salem Academy, Salem College) and the tourist draw of Old Salem.
The Primary Service Area is also southeast of Winston-Salem’s downtown business district, with WSSU’s campus only a mile-and-a-half from the heart of downtown, putting the area within easy commuting distance of many of the city’s largest employers.
Because of the historical significance of the CDC’s Primary Service Area, and its proximity to downtown, this area is integral to the rejuvenation of the City.