Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem is again breaking ground – not on a new construction project, but on a new method of driving innovation.
Already one of the world’s largest and fastest growing innovation districts, WFIQ has been selected along with five others to form the Global Institute of Innovation Districts. Other participants are: St. Louis, Missouri; New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Melbourne, Australia.
These districts will form the Global Institute’s steering committee, charged with shaping its agenda and research networking and other meaningful advances.
Marketing and Communications Director James Patterson said the selection means WFIQ is recognized globally, not just regionally, as a leader in how to build a smart, effective innovation ecosystem.
“As companies and organizations look more and more to locate in those types of spaces – ones that provide multiple avenues to innovation in a mixed-use environment – the Innovation Quarter will be seen as an ideal place to locate,” Patterson said.
Innovation Quarter, anchored in downtown Winston-Salem in the rehabilitated factories and warehouses of what was once R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., is home to Wake Downtown, which includes the Wake Forest School of Medicine, its biotech and engineering courses and other programs.
Winston-Salem State University’s biomedical research infrastructure center is also there, and Bailey Power Plant houses several tech and retail startups – everything from a data technology company to a global sock manufacturing outfit.
“More and more, we are seeing our approach of mixed-use, knowledge-based economic development to be a dynamic force in cities around the country and even the world,” said Graydon Pleasants, head of real estate development for the Innovation Quarter.
“We have been fortunate enough to share a vision of this approach with our development partners, especially Wexford Science + Technology, as well as with our city, county governments and state partners,” Pleasants said. “All of our partners have helped us become a model for other innovation districts as they establish and grow.”