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Genesis Block Receives Grant To Support Black Entrepreneurship

By Johanna Cano, posted Dec 15, 2020
Genesis Block has received a grant from NC IDEA to continue to support its mission of boosting Black entrepreneurs. (File photo)
Wilmington’s Genesis Block is one of eight recipients in the state of an NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grant, with the goal of elevating Black entrepreneurship in North Carolina.

Genesis Block, a community collaborative and coworking space that opened in downtown Wilmington this year, received $50,000, said Andrea Cook, director of NC IDEA Foundation, in an email.

Recipients could request up to $50,000, she added.

The grant program, with a total of over $360,000, was created through a partnership between NC IDEA and the newly formed North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council.

“Under the leadership of the NC Black Entrepreneurship Council and just months after its formation, our call to fund organizations supporting more Black people in their ambition to start and scale growth-oriented companies drew an incredible response,” Thom Ruhe, CEO and president of NC IDEA, said in a press release. “Equitable entrepreneurship is vital to our economic recovery. Partnering with these eight worthy recipients creates greater opportunity to economically empower Black people with entrepreneurship, and collectively work to combat inequalities that perpetuate racial imbalances.”

Genesis Block and other partner recipients are “executing on innovative and transformational ideas that will elevate Black Entrepreneurship,” the release stated.

Started by Tracey and Girard Newkirk, Genesis Block has a three-year goal to help boost companies that will create 400 jobs and add $13 million in investment in the area.

Genesis Block includes a coworking space, entrepreneur academy and minority accelerator and is developing a mobile application and website to promote minority businesses in the Wilmington area. While open to all entrepreneurs, it has a focus on helping women- and minority-owned businesses.

Last week, NC IDEA awarded $1.5 million in grants through its NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM grant program, which included Network for Entrepreneurs in Wilmington.

Local entrepreneur and co-founder of Lapetus Solutions, Karl Ricanek, is a member of the N.C. Black Entrepreneurship Council, which formed in August.

Other winners of the NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grant include ACCESS Center for Equity + Success in Winston-Salem, ASPIRE Community Capital and City Startup Labs in Charlotte, GRIND in Asheville, HELIUS and Knox St. Studios in Durham and Triangle Entrepreneurial Leadership in Garner.
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