What to Expect This Year at Forward Cities

January 31, 2023 | By

Nutishia Lee

This story is adapted from the Forward Cities monthly e-newsletter. Subscribe for the latest news and updates from cities across the country.


January 2023

Forging a Path Forward through Collaboration and Action

This year, Forward Cities is renewing our continued commitment to building more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems across the nation. 

In 2023, we plan to launch partnerships in at least 12 new communities through our Black Wall Street Forward initiative and E3 Nation Tour. We’ll also continue community-led collaborations to build more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems in Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, and Washington.

E3 Nation Tour catalyzes conversations and collaborative action in your community. Investing in this interactive learning experience is an opportunity to match Forward Cities’ proven strategies in building equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems with your  experience and expertise. Bringing together entrepreneurs, support organizations, champions, and decision makers to look at how people, programs, networks, and narratives in your community are resourced and distributed, E3 Nation Tour empowers leaders committed to equity to ensure that all entrepreneurs have the support to start and grow their business in your community. 

Watch the recording to learn how E3 Nation Tour can activate and align your entrepreneurial ecosystem!

Watch the Info Session

Stay Up-to-Date on
Black Wall Street Forward

Forward Cities' narrative change initiative, Black Wall Street Forward, brings together local leaders and champions committed to supporting efforts to uplift Black businesses in five North Carolina communities.

The momentum continues to build as the Councils prepare to launch pilot projects in early 2023 to bring to life a reimagined Black Wall Street across each of the communities.
The Charlotte Council will create a report showing how the state of the local Black business ecosystem impacts entrepreneurs' mental health.
In Durham, the Council is bringing together speakers and entrepreneurs in an interactive event, in addition to creating a Black-focused community hub located in the heart of Durham, NC.
The two Fayetteville pilots will focus on bringing the Black business community together with a Black Business Expo and Black Artists Forum. 
The Raleigh pilots consist of a Small Business Success Academy and comprehensive directory of Black small business owners in the Raleigh area. 
The Winston-Salem Council is planning both an annual, city-wide campaign, as well as a presentation on the past, present, and future of Winston-Salem’s Black Wall Street. 

Be sure to connect with @BlackWallStFwd on social media and sign up for our newsletter to get the latest!
Subscribe to the BWSF E-Newsletter

Meet Inspiring E3 Durham Entrepreneurs

The E3 Durham Community Navigator Program connects Durham's entrepreneurs to a network of experts, an array of resources, and comprehensive support services to meet the needs of current and future business owners.

E3 Durham entrepreneur Ruben Watson is an author and the owner of Durham independent publishing company, Watson Family Literacy. The following is an excerpt from the recent blog, Building the World You Hope to See.

“E3 Durham is definitely an organization that I'm thankful to be affiliated with,” Ruben admits. He has met with business coaches and mentors about his business plan, and, Ruben says they gave him insight on how to expand his strategy and scope. He has a significant scope in mind.
Ruben hopes Watson Family Literacy to be an international brand with books, audio, cartoons, and more to inspire African-American kids to like books, storytelling, and literacy.

“I've been in Durham for the past six years. I haven't seen anything like this,” he says of the E3 Durham community. “Where there's multicultural entrepreneurs, Black entrepreneurs, and other entrepreneurs of color.”

Read the Full Story

We Raised 99% of Our Year-End Goal!

Thanks to our year-end donors for your commitment to chart a different path forward: equity for every entrepreneur! We all benefit when new businesses succeed, and every entrepreneur deserves an equitable chance to launch and grow a business.

With your support, we are able to continue our collaborative work with on-the-ground partners to build more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems. Didn't get a chance to donate in 2022? Click below to help us start 2023 strong.
Give Forward

Staff Picks

Industry News, Reports, Best Practices

NC IDEA's Spring 2023 Grant Cycle
Whether you have just launched a startup or are looking to grow and scale your company, NC IDEA has resources that can help in the success of your journey when and where you need it most.
Early stage, growth-oriented companies can apply for one of two different NC IDEA grants:
  • NC IDEA MICRO awards $10K project-based grants to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea.
  • NC IDEA SEED offers $50K grants to early stage companies, often the critical funding they need to scale faster.
*** Note: Applicants may only apply to either MICRO or SEED (not both) during the grant cycle.***
Grant Application Opens January 30th. Apply by February 27th at 5:00pm EST.

The 2023 Black Business Gala
On February 4, 2023, the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce invites you to join us at our Annual Black Business Gala as we celebrate the outstanding and continuous history of Black business achievement in Durham, NC.  The 2023 Black Business Gala will honor a Woman of the Year and Man of the Year.

The GDBCC also awards three businesses at the Black Business Gala, an emerging business of the year, a long-standing business of the year, and a community organization of the year.  

The 2023 Black Business Gala will also provide us an opportunity to select the winners of the Connia Watson Scholarship Awards, to two outstanding high school seniors.

In addition to attending the event, you may support the GDBCC, our honorees, awardees, and scholarship recipients by purchasing an ad for our souvenir booklet, being a partner/sponsor, or making a donation. For more details on pricing and size requirements for ads/marketing and for sponsorship/partnership opportunities, please take a look at our 2023 Black Business Week Partnership Deck. The submission deadline for the souvenir booklet is 5pm on Thursday, January 12, 2023. 
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We're Hiring!

Forward Cities is growing and we hope you (or someone you know) is a good fit for one of our newly created roles. We are currently seeking a Program Director. Click below to learn more about Forward Cities and what it's like to work with us!
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“It’s a fact of life that progress is almost exclusively generated through people.”

 – Reginald F. Lewis


We are committed to ensuring equity for every entrepreneur, in every community. Please consider a gift to support our work.
Thank you!