BY JOHANNA CANO, POSTED JAN 4, 2021

The region’s newest coworking space and business accelerator, Genesis Block, is accepting applications for its first small business accelerator cohort.

Small, minority and women-owned businesses can apply by Friday for the opportunity to be chosen to participate in the 16-week, Back on the Block Minority Accelerator program.

“Our program is designed to drive focus for minority small business owners and expose opportunities that had not been seen before,” Girard Newkirk, co-founder of Genesis Block, said in a news release. “We’ll work to assure their customer solution fits their market and help them accelerate growth. Perhaps the greatest long term benefit they’ll have is the access we’ll provide to essential resources from within our region.”

The online application can be found here.

Ten minority-owned businesses will be selected, and thanks to an NC BEC ECOSYSTEM grant from NC IDEA that Genesis Block received in December, those selected will be able to participate for free. The program has a $5,000 tuition value.

The NC IDEA grant’s purpose is to elevate Black entrepreneurship in North Carolina.

Genesis Block’s accelerator program is for small business owners that want to grow and will include at least 60% Black-owned businesses, according to the release.

​For those selected, the accelerator will begin Jan. 28. Participants need to commit to meeting one night a week for two to three hours and are expected to put in 10 to 15 hours a week working on their business model. While the accelerator is 16 weeks, participants can expect a one-year commitment.

Genesis Block has a goal to help boost companies owned by minorities and graduate 120 current businesses from the Back on the Block Accelerator program over the next three years.

“Community prosperity will come from the development of a strong minority middle class,” Tracey Newkirk, co-founder of Genesis Block, said in the release. “If we double the revenue of those companies participating our in accelerators, the tax base grows along with it, and jobs grow 3-5x. It can’t be done without a creative and collaborative community that is dedicated to equal access to entrepreneurship. That’s our agenda, and how we will enable our cohorts.”

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