Creating a new class of entrepreneurs and innovators

There are powerful concepts gestating in the belly of Charlotte entrepreneur and community leader Henry Rock, founder of City Startup Labs. Rock has the wild idea of transforming the cultural narrative that is prevailing in American media that young black men are a threat to society by countering with a program geared towards equipping young black millenial males with the tools, resources and community necessary for the healthy development of a sustainable lean startup. Rock is everything I love about social innovators who walk the talk.

Fortunately enough for me, Mr. Rock reach out to me with a personal message on a few months ago, inviting me to apply to his program. City Startup Labs was already known to be as several people around town mentioned this amazing resource as a potential avenue for me to hone my skills as I prepared to build out this organization. If it weren’t for Mr. Rock, I probably would have never had the confidence to apply to the program on my own in the early stage of the organization’s development.

There were many reasons for this, all of them unsubstantiated and only holding any weight in my own mind of insecurities. Now that we are a month into the program and having survived thus far, I wanted to share with you a few nuggets of wisdom I have gleaned.

  1. Community is essential to success
  2. Human-centered designed keeps your customers and stakeholders at the center of attention
  3. Lean startups is the process of getting your idea to market while making the least costly mistakes quickly.


A lot of people have hopes and dreams but few are willing to pursue them with tenacity because the are afraid. The reality is that we are all afraid and we would be less so if we knew where to start. One of the reasons why community is essential to the successful startup of a business or community organization is because all of those people will be your trusted allies, critiques and advocates who can give you honest feedback away from the damning gaze of media, family and friends who are quick to force you back into the conformist box which so securely shields many of them from the beautiful experience of self-actualization.

It’s not their fault. They are simply afraid as well. A community is different though, in that you cultivate a safe-space where dreams can be nurtured and the necessary advice, guidance and support can be offered to help coax those dreams into manifestation.

Human-centered Design

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Lean Startup

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City Startup Labs is equipping young black businessmen with the necessary tools to manifest their vision into products, services and other resources that benefit the community and enable them to take the driver’s seat of their lives. City Startup Labs represents what we are all about here at Project i Am You.

What are your thoughts about the program?

via Creating a new class of entrepreneurs and innovators

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