Genesis Block has been chosen by a coalition created by Duke Energy to build an online platform that promotes diverse-owned businesses in the clean energy industry, according to a press release Wednesday.
“We are honored and excited to be selected to build out the vision of the DiCE platform, which is to use technology and collaboration to create more opportunities for diverse-owned businesses in the clean energy supply chain,” said Girard Newkirk, CEO and co-founder of Genesis Block.
According to the release, the platform is slated to launch by the end of the third quarter of this year.
Diversity in Clean Energy, known as DiCE, is described as an action-based coalition created by Charlotte-headquartered Duke Energy working in collaboration with Microsoft, T-Mobile, Kroger, General Motors, Solar Stewards and VLV Development as well as representatives from diverse-owned businesses in clean energy.
A diverse-owned business is one where the majority is owned by one or more minorities. A Minority Business Enterprise or MBE includes women-owned and/or military veteran-owned businesses.
The coalition has the goal of driving inclusive and equitable practices in the sourcing and supplier selections in the clean energy industry. This includes clean energy in solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, biogas, hydroelectric and electric vehicle infrastructure, according to its website.
A key mission of the coalition is to “debunk myths associated with diverse-owned businesses in clean energy – myths such as they are more expensive than their nondiverse counterparts, they lack skills and competency, they are not capable of accommodating corporate and utility needs and they are not available on a national scale," the release stated.
One way DiCE seeks to debunk this myth is by developing a web-based platform that will serve as a tool for monitoring ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) performance.
DiCE describes this platform as the “capstone” of its work as a comprehensive tool bringing together diverse suppliers and buyers.
The no-cost, competitive marketplace platform developed by Genesis Block will be a national repository for Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, developers, consultants, financiers and lawyers of clean energy, officials said.
“It will enhance diverse-owned businesses’ ability to market themselves and be accessible to corporations and utilities,” the release stated.
The platform will be accessible to buyers who will see videos, testimonials, safety certification badges and other designations of diverse-owned businesses. It will help diverse-owned businesses with their scalability by accelerating partnerships and collaboration, which may allow them to work together to provide services, according to the release.
“This internal networking can enhance competitiveness and MBE's ability to respond to utility and corporate RFPs,” the release stated.
Blending business development for minorities with the clean industry is not new for Newkirk who, through Genesis Block, has been providing entrepreneurial training since 2019. Prior to Genesis, Newkirk was the founder of a blockchain-based renewable energy company.
In addition, Genesis Block has been developing Genesis Bridge, an online platform to streamline the procurement process for large organizations that gives diverse, small businesses access to greater opportunities.
“Our vision with DiCE is to empower the global clean energy value chain with visibility to manage spending, build resiliency and source locally diverse-owned businesses,” Newkirk said. “We are thrilled to bring this project to Wilmington using it as a catalyst to build the clean tech, green tech and Web 3 ecosystem for local startups in the area.”
“We have an opportunity to be a leader in supplier diversity and green technology solutions," he added, "and we want to capitalize on this incredible opportunity."