Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him. Booker T. Washington
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.
Entrepreneurship creates wealth, not just wages. The wealth created by entrepreneurs stays in the community generating more positive outcomes including stronger civic leadership, better students and increases the efficacy levels in communities. There are other intangible benefits to entrepreneurship in communities. A culture of entrepreneurship can boost the spirit of a community, in particular, areas that have experienced economic decline. The sense of pride, self-worth and opportunity may wane however the images of successful entrepreneurs and the opportunity to pursue one's dream have an immeasurable impact on a community.
Building Entrepreneurs Block By Block
Genesis Block believes that investment in entrepreneurship is the most viable economic development tool for wealth creation and community prosperity. We broadly define prosperity as the condition of being successful in terms of wealth, mental and physical health, happiness and sense of well-being. Entrepreneurship has always been an important part of America's economic tradition and our vision is to lower the barriers to access leveraging community, collaboration and creativity.
According to Raymond W. Smilor of the Kauffman Center, in a paper titled "Entrepreneurship and Community Development," this is where entrepreneurship has some real community development potential. Smilor describes entrepreneurs as the ultimate optimists and that their optimism is a "remarkably potent resource for building community." Genesis Block is a proponent of the community entrepreneurship model as a pathway to prosperity versus attempts to alleviate poverty through development agencies and paternalistic interventions. Most of the poverty alleviation programs have degenerated into “charity” rather than serving as a mechanism to build self-reliant, sustainable and self-determined communities. Our mission is to build the entrepreneur class inspiring people to become the highest expression of themselves while elevating communities with a focus on empowerment, essential skills training and access to entrepreneurial resources.
Entrepreneur training can be a crucial process in economic development for all communities and in particular those challenged with disparities and economic decline. Entrepreneurs are becoming an increasingly valuable resource when it comes to problem solving, so it is reasonable to assert that growing entrepreneurs at the community level could become a valuable tool in mitigating social issues. Of the 10 companies selected for the Genesis Block Minority Accelerator, 40% of them have mission statements related to social impact. This provides hope that entrepreneurs are using their talents to not only create profitable businesses but to play pivotal roles in improving the lives of people in their communities.
Social Upward Mobility
Thanks to a partnership with our friends at UNCW CIE and 1 Million Cups, our Genesis Block Back on the Block Minority Accelerator companies have been presenting their business to the 1MC Wilmington entrepreneurial community. This is a great example of how entrepreneurship brings out the best in our community and helps to connect us all. Sometimes it is necessary to step outside of the prepackaged narratives, influences and rhetoric that guide our perception and focus on the clarity being expressed by our lived experience. Entrepreneurship is not only the great equalizer, it can also be the great unifier.