Wilmington, NC – Genesis Block, Wilmington’s new community collaborative working to grow minority and women-owned businesses, has announced their first cohort of 10 small businesses accepted into the Back on the Block accelerator. The program is offered free of charge through a partnership with NC Idea, for advancing black entrepreneurship in southeastern NC, and an economic development grant from new Hanover County.

“Genesis Block is proving that Wilmington and all of Southeastern North Carolina is a diverse, open and inclusive community, working collaboratively to build the entrepreneur class,” said Tracey Newkirk, co-founder of Genesis Block. “Our selection committee had a challenge choosing only 10 companies from the long list of applicants. We’re excited for this first group, and to know that we are well prepared for the second cohort.”

The Back on the Block minority business accelerator specifically requires that companies have established a foothold in their market, demonstrating a revenue stream as one example of their preparedness to grow. The accelerator includes a 16-week intensive entrepreneur skills program, mentorship, shared workspace, professional networking, and access to capital upon completion. Genesis Block’s three-year goal to boost companies that are owned by minorities is one pillar of that challenge to graduate 120 businesses from the Back on the Block Accelerator program over the next three years.

The following companies make up the first cohort for Back on the Block Minority Accelerator:

Genesis Block will host a kick-off event on January 28th at 6:30 pm. Dignitaries from across the Cape Fear region and North Carolina will welcome the businesses and help to establish or expand community commitment to the success of these companies. The public is encouraged to view the live stream of the event. Registration is required for the Zoom, RSVP here.

“We couldn’t be successful without a score of partners, and we welcome them to gather with us on the 28th” said Girard Newkirk. “Our strategic partners include CastleBranch, Joe Finley, Terry Espy, Don Lashley. Plus, funding from NC IDEA and New Hanover County has added to the boosts we receive from UNCW CIE, Live Oak Bank, UNCW, Cape Fear Business Coalition, Cape Fear Collective, Cape Fear Monteith Construction, Truist Bank, Fluent PR, New Beginning Christian Church, Folla Capital, Hybrid Athlete Foundation, NEW, Luke Worley, Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Salt Air Inc, Cape Fear Collective and a host of other community partners who help bring this program to fruition.”

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