A New Class of Entrepreneurs


Airdate: August 21, 2017

Henry Rock II is the founder and director of City Startup Labs, an academy for emerging entrepreneurs that develops human, social and economic capital within inner-city America. In partnership with Ventureprise, Inc., a non-profit venture development organization, CSL operates a Center of Excellence for Entrepreneurial Competency, Innovation and Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Henry has over two decades of experience in media sales, advertising and marketing. His career includes business development and strategic planning for small black-owned and operated ventures. He has given a TEDxCharlotte Talk on creating a new class of African American entrepreneurs. Henry does more than inspire young men and women to live powerful and rewarding lives.  He gives them the tools and shares the mindsets to make it happen.

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in the education of entrepreneurs, a discussion on black cultural nationalism, and a basis for hope in our lives.


  • Henry explains the four modules that make up City Startup Labs that guide young entrepreneurs from acceleration to incubation to market.

  • He discusses how he makes use of lean startup principles and Barry Gordy's autobiography to reach his students.

  • He talks about the mindset of young black men and how perceptions of them affect them psychologically and physically.

  • Henry explains the three classes of assets that CSL is seeking to build.

  • He discusses how his family story parallels the arc of African American history.

  • Henry talks about the influence of black activists Amiri Baraka and Ron Karenga and the difference between black nationalism and white nationalism.

  • He describes himself as a young man, why he chose to take courses in economics, and his transition into a career in media and advertising.

  • Henry talks about an amazing period in black media, how it informs what he is doing now, and why he is hopeful about the future.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Having the Conversation on Race

To Learn More About Henry


  • What struck you about Henry's comments?

  • Are 'safe spaces' a form of 'separate but equal'?

  • Is black nationalism and white nationalism the same or different?

  • What gives you hope?

We invite your posts on our Facebook page. 

This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts.