By Gabrielle Williams| January 6, 2021 at 10:33 AM EST – Updated January 6 at 8:49 PM 

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Genesis Block is looking for small business owners for their first accelerator cohort.

Genesis Block is Wilmington’s newest community collaborative that works to grow small businesses in Southeastern North Carolina.

[RELATED: Wilmington entrepreneurs launch list highlighting black businesses.]

For their first Back on the Block Minority Accelerator, ten minority-owned, small businesses will be selected to take part in a 16-week course. The course, valued at $5,000, is free thanks to a grant from NC Idea.

“Our program is designed to drive focus for minority small business owners and expose opportunities that had not been seen before,” said Girard Newkirk, co-founder of Genesis Block. “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 company has a three-year goal to help boost companies owned by minorities. They want to help them create 400 jobs and add $13 million in investment to the economy here in our area. The company hopes to 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,” said Tracey Newkirk, co-founder of Genesis Block. “If we double the revenue of those companies participating our in accelerators, the tax base grows along with it, and jobs grow three to five times. 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.”

If you’re a small business and wish to grow, you’re encouraged to apply. You can live anywhere in the Cape Fear, as long as you’re willing to drive to Wilmington once a week during the 16-week course. This first cohort will include at least 60% black-owned business. The application form can be found here. Applications are due by Friday, Jan. 8.

To learn more about Genesis Block, visit their website.

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