The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED)

This is the first in a series about how some of our clients are adjusting or contributing to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Most companies have had their day to day operations impacted by this pandemic, yet many are still chipping in to help flatten the curve in their own manner. We thought it appropriate to showcase some of that work. What are you doing differently than you normally would have? How are you contributing to help make the 'new normal' succeed? What’s working and what’s not working? Let us know, we’d love this to be an interactive conversation.

CED Banner


In 2019, DesignHammer partnered with The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) to develop and maintain their website, and entered into a strategic partnership to share resources, referrals, and thought leadership. CED is the leading advocate and connector for the creation and growth of entrepreneurial companies in the state of North Carolina. CED connects entrepreneurs with investors, business partners, resources, and more. They have been a catalyst in the rapid and vast growth throughout the Raleigh-Durham and Research Triangle Park ecosystems, helping more than 1,000 companies through their accelerator curriculum.

In years prior, CED ran two concurrent conferences geared towards life sciences and technology respectively, which they merged into Venture Connect for 2020. The goal of combining the events was to create an environment that supported stronger connections, valuable programming, and learning for all. The summit combined tech and life science under one roof and was meant to be a powerhouse event that showcased the region’s strength and growing ecosystem.

When the COVID pandemic hit, CED was forced to reassess the March conference for over 1,000 attendees, speakers, and vendors (including DesignHammer). With no end to the stay-at-home-order in sight and no guarantees on future open dates this year at the Raleigh Convention Center, CED leaders decided to creatively pivot. Thus a virtual event unlike any other - Venture Connect Online - was created.

Venture Connect Online Banner

"CED has redirected the Venture Connect Summit to Venture Connect Online, where we are able to continue to foster entrepreneurial growth in our region. It is important now, more than ever, to provide access to the vital resources these companies need so that they can grow, create jobs, and move business forward." – Kelly Rowell Interim President & CEO

Venture Connect Online is an on-demand 5-part series beginning May 4th. It will feature over 90 presenting early-stage growth tech and life sciences companies, as well as on-demand online education, exclusive live investor content, and live pitches from Queen City Fintech. Ticket holders will have access to new episodes every Monday from May 4–May 18 all from the comfort of their own computers.

“CED provides support to growing companies year-round by making connections to resources that propel their company forward. Business across the board have been impacted by COVID-19 and we are doing our part to adapt with this new online event." - Kelly Rowell.

In addition to dramatically pivoting to a virtual event of this magnitude, CED is also stepping up their promotion and use of veteran entrepreneur-in-residence and serial connector Jay Bigelow. “Ask Me Anything” is a personal 1-on-1 time for entrepreneurs, investors, or just the tech and life science-curious to bounce ideas off of Jay and to connect with CED’s wide-ranging, powerful entrepreneurial and investment ecosystems.

Maybe now is a good time for you to think about that start-up you’ve always dreamed about, or put the plans in motion to pivot once we find a new normal. Perhaps all of this work-from-home time gives you a chance to dream or potentially invest in a future bleeding-edge startup. If so, check out CED’s website and review the many resources they provide to help you build your company.

Since 2001 DesignHammer has worked with businesses, startups, and non-profit organizations to build, expand, and rethink their web strategy. As an agile technology-driven company, we were able to quickly adjust to a distributed team model and have been able to continue to support our clients and take on new engagements as organizations have more available time for marketing strategy.

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