By Matt Bennett – January 28, 2021 11:58 PM0

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Genesis Block, Wilmington’s new community collaborative to grow minority and women-owned businesses, held a big event Thursday night.

They announced ten small businesses accepted into their ‘Back on the Block’ accelerator.

The program is free thanks to a partnership with NC Idea and an economic development grant from New Hanover County.

County Commission vice-chair Deb Hayes and Congressman David Rouzer were there, with Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo joining via Zoom.

The accelerator specifically requires that companies have established a foothold in their market, demonstrating a revenue stream as one example of their preparedness to grow. The accelerator includes a 16-week intensive entrepreneur skills program, mentorship, shared workspace, professional networking, and access to capital upon completion.

Genesis Block co-founders Girard and Tracey Newkirk say seeing this come to fruition is a dream come true.

“To see these 10 businesses tonight that are excited, and how the community came out to support them is really exciting for me,” Tracey Newkirk said.

“I think for me it shows the collaboration in the community,” Girard Newkirk said. “It shows that there is a point of reconciliation that we can all work together, and entrepreneurship and small business development provides an opportunity to do that.”

Here is the list of businesses selected for the first cohort:

Isla Advanced Skincare, Allicyn Bryan, founder.
Jayski’s Rub A Dub LLC , William and Shemeka Stokes, co-founders.
Star-Studded Voices LLC , Tikisha Michelle Johnson, founder.
Jones Sunset Sauce LLC, Tiffany Hansley-Jones, founder
Avonya’s Blends LLC, Emily Dixon, founder
Poseidon Athletics, Jermaine Kemp, founder
Creator’s Print House, Robert Flood Jr founder
Get That Deed LLC, Brenda Dixon, founder
Health Begins From Within LLC, Tiffany Hallmon Cripps, founder
Innate Health Family Chiropractic & Wellness, Dr. Ada Suter

Genesis Block’s goal is to graduate 120 businesses from the Back on the Block accelerator program over the next three years.

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