Greater Wilmington Business Journal, Published 12/2/2021
The GIN at Castle represents a bold vision to transform 1110 Castle Street into a hub for inclusive entrepreneurship, arts and entertainment, community spaces, dining and flexible housing options for the community.
Genesis Block has a vision to leverage the advancement of entrepreneurship as a mechanism to promote economic prosperity and social reconciliation in our community. The innovation corridor on Castle Street has the potential to serve as a catalyst to revitalize the Spirit of 1897 when Wilmington was viewed as a model for community, collaboration and economic prosperity in the country.
This overview of the innovation corridor is to help better understand the development concept, the vision and the advantages of bringing startup resources directly to communities in order to create entrepreneurial opportunities.
What is The GIN at Castle Innovation Corridor?
The GIN at Castle will be the center for powerful social, economic and community convergence. The innovation corridor will be a destination hub for entrepreneurs, creators and local small businesses fostering a dynamic environment for creativity and entrepreneurial opportunities.
The mixed-used development will include a Genesis Block innovation center, flexible housing for more affordable options and commercial spaces for early-stage startups and small businesses. This corridor will serve as a catalyst for innovation and bring state-of-the-art resources to a traditionally underserved neighborhood.
Why does this benefit the community?
Through September 2021, Americans have filed a record 1.4 million to start new businesses, according to an analysis of Census data by the Economic Innovation Group. The GIN at Castle is strategically designed around the idea that entrepreneurship provides a pathway to economic prosperity and social reconciliation.
Entrepreneur training, workspaces, networking and capital access will drive small business formation while increasing the success rate of early-stage startups. Community stakeholders working together to create entrepreneurship opportunities and empower communities will unleash the spirit of collaboration to align with this vision of economic development.
What are the goals of The GIN at Castle?
- Launch and incubate 75 small businesses annually
- Generate 75 new jobs annually
- Generate $10 million dollars in economic activity from small businesses and corridor activity
- Create inclusive entrepreneurship and innovation corridor with flexible housing options
How can larger institutions support inclusive entrepreneurship in the corridor?
The GIN at Castle requires an intentional effort of Wilmington area parent industries and university resources such as banking, fintech, food industry, film industry, life sciences, software development, healthcare and blue economy resources to cluster in this corridor to create entrepreneurship opportunities.
It is important that we understand “access” in the context of proximity to traditionally underserved communities. Castle Street is uniquely positioned to be at the nexus of community resources being intentionally directed to productive economic development in this neighborhood.
What is the proposed location?
1110 Castle Street is at the nexus of revitalization efforts on Castle Street and the growing Cargo District. It was formerly a WAVE transit bus maintenance facility and the innovation corridor would significantly aid in the area’s revitalization.
We look forward to feedback from the community as we build on this bold vision to use entrepreneurship as a pathway for our economic prosperity and social reconciliation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and details on how you can get involved.
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.