Print
Entrepreneurs

An Inclusive Space For Startups

By Jenny Callison, posted May 7, 2021
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES | GENESIS BLOCK | GIRARD NEWKIRK, CEO & TRACEY NEWKIRK, PRESIDENT | YEAR FOUNDED: 2019 | EMPLOYEES: 3 (Photo by Michael Cline Spencer)
Envisioned by husband-and-wife team Girard and Tracey Newkirk, Genesis Block provides business development services that support small business owners, entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.

Its mission is to build an entrepreneur class in Wilmington that is inclusive of everyone, while having a special focus on ventures led by minorities and women.
 
“The company has a vision to become the anchor organization for minority- and women-owned business services and economic development in Southeastern North Carolina,” Girard Newkirk said. “Genesis Block combines coworking, meeting and event spaces with educational programs and technology to create dynamic service offerings for small business owners.”
 
Three “Cs” form the basis for Genesis Block’s culture. The company emphasizes “community” connections to engage its clients with their environment and enhance the community as a whole. It promotes “collaboration” over competition as a way to strengthen the entire entrepreneur class. And it aims to foster an environment that encourages “creativity.”
 
Since its founding, Genesis Block has gained a number of tenants and clients, as well as funding. For example, in December, Genesis Block received $50,000 as one of eight recipients in the state of an N.C. Black Entrepreneurship Council ECOSYSTEM grant. Early this year, New Hanover County officials agreed to award the company $25,000 in economic development funds.
 
Even during a year-plus of COVID-19 restrictions, the company has formed partnerships to represent and advocate for the interests of small businesses in the area. Those partners include ResilNC, Cape Fear Collective, NC IDEA, Castle- Branch and New Hanover County. It also collaborated with Cucalorus and University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on this year’s 10x10 Challenge, a pairing of startups and filmmakers to produce short promotional videos.
 
In January, Genesis Block launched the area’s first Minority Accelerator and has seen it blossom in the first quarter. Nearly 90 firms applied to be part of it.
 
Genesis Block now has 47 community members, 38 companies in its business community and 15 sponsorship partners. Black-owned businesses compose 68% of its clients and tenants, while women-owned businesses represent 71%. Genesis Block has offered 23 small business workshops in the first quarter, with more than 350 people attending. The Newkirks also launched the Genesis List, a directory of area Black-owned businesses.
 
Girard Newkirk himself is an entrepreneur. His tech venture, KWHCoin, seeks to combine renewable energy and blockchain technology to provide off-the-grid energy to customers all over the world. In 2019, KWHCoin was a Coastal Entrepreneur Award winner in the Emerging Company category.
 
Tracey Newkirk is a business consultant and co-founder of the African American Business Council, which is allied with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

Click here to meet all of this year's CEA winners

Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Kellyerola headshot lcflc

Hospice Care Provides Added Benefits During COVID-19

Kelly Erola - Lower Cape Fear LifeCare
Mel profilephoto

Influencer Marketing: Tap Into Your Audience On A Budget

Mel Beasley - Wide Open Tech
Dane

Can You Do Well By Doing Good?

Dane Scalise - GriffinEstep Benefit Group

Trending News

Wilmington Restaurant Gets Eggs-actly What It Needs

Jenny Callison - Sep 15, 2021

Mayor, City Council Candidates Discuss Vision For Wilmington

Johanna Cano - Sep 14, 2021

As More Restaurants Shutter, A Look At The End Of An Oleander Drive Staple

Justin Pope Williams - Sep 15, 2021

Report 'sheds Light' On Region's Economic Inequality

Cece Nunn - Sep 15, 2021

Cooper Names Locals To State Boards, Commissions

Staff Reports - Sep 14, 2021

In The Current Issue

MADE Winners: Arts Category

Filmwerks, House of Harris and T. Shaw Designs were winners in the MADE Awards Arts Category...


MADE Winners: Food & Beverage Category

End of Days Distillery, Mema's Chick'n' Ribs and Noni Baca Winery are the winners in the MADE Awards Food & Beverage Category....


Free Trolley Refreshes Downtown Route

For visitors and locals alike, the free downtown trolley in Wilmington recently refreshed its route, offering access to more desired destina...

Book On Business

The 2021 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100