Article courtesy of Triangle Business Journal By Connie Gentry – Freelance Writer
Jul 10, 2022

Durham Built2Last is a nonprofit organization that will provide assistance to historically underutilized businesses that are minority- or women-owned; marginalized communities in Durham; and the working poor, including essential workforce such as teachers and first responders who cannot afford to live in the city they serve. The organization, which has been in the planning stages since pre-pandemic, launched its website last month.

Joyce Blackwell, executive director of Built2Last, says they have begun hiring staff. “By the end of year one, we plan to have a development officer in place, who will assist with fundraising not only for operations but also with creating connections. We will also begin to offer a series of classes, workshops and certifications to small women-owned and minority-owned businesses.”

From Aug. 29 to Dec. 15, Built2Last Innovations Lab will be hosting a series of workshops to address sustainability as it relates to social, economic and environmental challenges, which include a range of factors such as evolving demographics, deteriorating infrastructure, climate change, equity, access to health care, food insecurity and access to capital for affordable housing as well as small business development.

In addition to the nonprofit’s Bull City Enterprise Training Center, which provides educational courses and certifications for minority-owned businesses as well as workshops like the sustainability series, a second division – the Bull City Durham Collaborative – will secure strategic partners from the educational, corporate, financial, philanthropic and community sectors. These partners will be asked to leverage their resources to support Built2Last initiatives. The third division in the nonprofit, the Bull City Equitable Development Fund, will create impact investment funds to help support historically underutilized businesses.

“The goal for the first year is to get as close to $1 million in operation funds and programming as possible,” Blackwell says.

Currently Built2Last has about 38 corporate, small business, educational, financial, philanthropic, supply chain and community partners.