The Olio – Recap of Upstart Live!







rbUpstart Live! took place Feb 5th-7th at Flywheel and featured The OLIO – a local hot glass blowing studio and nonprofit, led by Winston-Salem resident Rebeccah Byer. The concept developed by Flywheel founder Peter Marsh, is a collaborative approach of taking a startup from idea conception to market in just 48 hours. Rebeccah met Flywheel founder, Peter Marsh at a CCE Swerve event in fall, 2015. She shared her dream of establishing a new product taking recycled glass from local restaurants and bars, and creating a line of sustainable barware.

abgtfAt subsequent Swerve meetings, Peter and Rebeccah continued conversations until the Upstart Live event was born. Peter and the Flywheel staff recruited entrepreneurial mentors Joel Bennett, Nathan Powell and Dana Dillehunt to lead the upstart teams during the weekend. Members of the local community participated as team members and provided feedback.

Programming at the OLIO includes workshops and apprenticeships for at-¬risk youth, both in glassblowing technique and specialized training in business. Current revenue is driven by workshops, corporate programs, classes and field trips.

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The Problem: The Olio wants to achieve sustainable revenue to reduce dependency on contributed revenue. Their needs include:

  • More apprentices
  • Expand programs
  • Hire employees

The Solution: artisan production glassware

  • Hand-blown
  • Crafted color palette
  • Streamlined production & budgeting
  • Iconic & recognizable

During the 3-day event, mentors in entrepreneurship, business development, finance, customer identification, and marketing created a sustainable revenue model to fund the new product line and support The Olio’s community outreach . . Future steps were determined for growth of The OLIO, which includes a grand re-opening of their retail shop, and hiring a sales representative to get the product into the market. Mentors also developed a robust marketing strategy, as well as a 3-year growth projections, which demonstrates how The OLIO can double its revenues by 2019.

It was great to see the Winston-Salem and Triad community devoting time to reinvigorate a local creative enterprise. The Upstart Live atmosphere was energizing and inspiring. Everyone participating was challenged to expand their thinking and enjoyed helping a local organization make a new start and grow their business.