They have a saying at the Win Factory, a new coworking space and incubator at 300 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Wilmington: “When one wins, we all win.”
Win Factory, the brick-and-mortar location of the Win Factory Wealth League (WFWL), started out at the now-defunct CoIN Loft coworking space. Over the last year, its founders, led by Tamara Varella, have developed a community that shares ideas, expertise and support, with a goal of leveling the playing field for underrepresented entrepreneurs.
The new space is in the former offices of the Delaware 87ers (and, long before that, a slaughterhouse). It’s also Wilmington’s first Black-owned coworking space. And, while the space isn’t only for Black entrepreneurs, its mission is to create a win fcommunity of mutual support for entrepreneurs who may not have access to things like generational wealth and high-level connections.
Varella, owner of Manifest Business Consultants, has been in the industry for 20 years, and recently presented a Win Factory Wealth League workshop on the “Black Tax,” aka income Black professionals often give back to support family, preventing them from being able to build generational wealth. These “mastermind sessions” happen weekly and feature a variety of experts from Delaware and beyond — and are among the perks of the WFWL.
“We have an investment cohort starting in 2020,” Varella told Technical.ly. “We’re going to come together as a group and start investing in real estate together. For some of our members, they haven’t even purchased their own home yet, but to be able to have some money in a deal helps break that generational curse and get into the market.”
Other perks of membership in 2020 will include a crowdfunding showcase with Pedro Moore, when entrepreneurs can present their pitches to a variety of investors and community members, and group tours of GGA Construction projects with the company’s president, Lorri Grayson.
“Every quarter we run a new member startup class that covers the basics of entrepreneurship, and more importantly, we cover how to win here in Wilmington,” Varella said. “Wilmington is a different breed. It’s really not what you know, it’s who you know, so we teach the foundations to holding a healthy conversation, but we also tell you who is who, who are the players, who do you need to link to, what organizations have the resources and how to navigate through the system in Wilmington.”
The six Win Factory founders — Varella; Influencers Lab Media team Newdy Felton, Malcolm Coley, Kenyon Wilson and Alfred Campbell; and Pynk Print founder Linda Watson — are all well-positioned to support up-and-coming entrepreneurs, whether it’s with business and fundraising support, design, or help with marketing and social media. So far, there are 15 businesses on board, and there is room for more entrepreneurs looking for a personal or a dedicated desk. (A common workspace is also in the works).
“Our biggest thing is how do we bridge the gaps and also give our people a platform, because we’re so far behind,” Felton said. “There is no place that I feel I can go to as an entrepreneur and not only get workspace but get advice from experts and people like [Varalla]. We want to create that for other people as well as ourselves.”
“We have a unique position here,” Coley added. “It’s working.”
If you’re interested in checking the space out, a ribbon-cutting event will be on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m., featuring the mayor and other guests.
Can’t make it? Here’s a mini tour: