Why I Built My Business in Winston-Salem
Two entrepreneurs explain why they started their businesses in Winston-Salem, NC, and how the community is helping them grow.
Fast-growing is one of the best ways to describe Winston-Salem, as the area is seeing an upward shift in its dining, arts, residential and business scenes. For years, entrepreneurs in a variety of fields have found the area ideal for launching and growing successful companies. To find out why the region is a great place for startups, Livability sat down with two entrepreneurs: E.A. Green founded Opin Media, a marketing agency that specializes in video content, in 2019, and Brad Bennett co-founded a marketing agency called Wildfire Ideas in 2002.
What made you want to start Opin Media in Winston-Salem?
Coming from up North — living in New York and Delaware for quite a bit — it wasn’t until I came down to Winston-Salem that I realized entrepreneurial ecosystems exist. There is a community of people (here) who are either business owners who have ideas or entrepreneurs and creatives, and I really gravitated toward it.
How would you describe the startup scene in Winston-Salem?
I do believe that it’s accessible, but I think it’s one of those things that if you don’t know, you don’t know. I’ve met people since being here who are still finding out it exists, and I think the opportunity we have is, “How can we make sure people understand that these resources are available?”
What advice would you give entrepreneurs starting a business?
Fail fast. What that means is once you have the idea, just get started. When you get started, everything is not going to be perfect, but move forward and develop the idea as it happens. You won’t know if it works unless you actually try it.
Why did you think Winston-Salem was a great place to start a business?
I originally built Wildfire here largely through my existing professional network. It was clear that there was a space to do what we loved, provide for our family, and stay involved in our community. Winston-Salem was beginning its renaissance at that time in terms of things changing and things happening in downtown. There was a lot of business here, and so it was a great foundation to build from.
Why would you recommend that entrepreneurs open a business here?
Great resources, an incredible network of people to help and assist, access to capital, cost of living — you can’t beat it here. Ultimately, if people are looking at it, it’s an amazing place to raise a family, and there is plenty of opportunity. And the connections here are not just connections in Winston-Salem. There’s been a concerted effort to build a network that has access to, frankly, all over the country to open doors for people as they may need.
If you’d like to learn more about the Winston-Salem, NC, area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Greater Winston-Salem.