The first cohort of the Genesis Block Back on the Block Minority Accelerator will graduate on May 27, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in a distinguished ceremony held at Genesis Block. Ten companies were selected to participate in this program designed to provide entrepreneurship training, mentoring, networking, collaboration opportunities and access to capital. These companies are now ready to re-enter the marketplace with a more refined business model, multiple growth strategies and an activated entrepreneurial mindset.
Fundamentally, we believe the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in early stages relate to lack of skills, knowledge and strategy. Most would argue lack of capital however, companies inadequate capital or cash flow is, in some instances, symptomatic of deeper underlying structural flaws related to business knowledge and strategy. These companies have provided us with so many incredible experiences, insights and “ah-hah moments. Here are 7 key takeaways from our first cohort.
1. Mindset is the Key. Mindset determines your thinking and your thinking determines the actions that you take. The actions you take unlock your true Greatness. Our entrepreneurs have shown us they have the commitment and discipline required to build a sustainable business. The entrepreneurial mindset requires that level of focus.
2. David needs a Slingshot. 79.7% of U.S. small businesses employ only the founder and another 16.6% of businesses have less than 10 employees. Although the “little guy” represents about 97% of businesses, the majority of funding is granted to companies in technology, healthcare and biotechnology. There is a significant gap in access to resources for entrepreneurs in this category and at Genesis Block we hope to be a bridge.
3. Community is Everything. The community that has grown up around this cohort has been amazing. Whether it be the 1 Million Cups Wilmington entrepreneur community providing tips, UNCW CIE partnering with media support or partnering with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce for panels, the community has been AMAZING.
4. You Attract more Bees with Honey than Vinegar. Bad days happen. We encourage our entrepreneurs to indulge themselves in the art of being nice. The triggering event to cause new customers to try new products is more easily achieved if you are nice. There is no value greater than that of having a reputation for being customer friendly.
5. Traction is the Goal. Traction can be defined as any measurable progress that can be captured from business activities. 80% of our accelerator companies are less than 3 years old, so building traction is a critical strategic point for the companies.
6. Never Underestimate the Power of Suggestion. “Self-suggestion makes you master of yourself” – W. Clement Stone. We have so many examples from our cohort that have begun to become more deliberate in their suggestions. We have learned that fake it until you make it, is an actual thing.
7. Wilmington is an Amazing Place.
The Wilmington community has been wildly supportive of the companies participating in the Genesis Block Back on the Block Minority Accelerator. The collective support from our neighbors, colleagues and friends prove that our motto of community, collaboration and creativity are right here in Wilmington.
Girard Newkirk is the Co-founder and CEO of Genesis Block. He is also the Founder of KWHCoin and is a native of Pender County. He moved back to the Wilmington area by way of San Jose, California in November of 2018. In 2019, his company KWHCoin won the Coastal Entrepreneur Award for Emerging Company which focused on the company’s work with combining renewable energy and blockchain technology to provide off-grid energy solutions. In 2020, he was named to the Top 100 Business Leaders in Wilmington by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal for his work with Genesis Bock and Building the Entrepreneur Class. Genesis Block, in partnership with NC IDEA and New Hanover County, has developed the Genesis Block Back on the Block Minority Accelerator to advance entrepreneurship in minority communities.