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Voices From the Crisis: WIN Factory starts online entrepreneurs program


WILMINGTON – Tamara Varella is dealing with the new normal by inviting Delaware startups and would-be entrepreneurs to go camping.

Tamara Varella with two of her WIN Factory co-founders; Malcolm Coley and Newdy Felton | Photo by Max Osborne

Varella and her co-founders own The WIN Factory, the state’s first black-owned co-working space and incubator on Martin Luther King Boulevard. The building has been pretty empty lately, thanks to the company’s designation by the state as “non-essential,” which arguably isn’t the best way to describe what they offer minority entrepreneurs.

The WIN Factory is shifting its focus and broadening its audience to leverage and expand the content they already have on their WIN Factory Wealth League community, which recognizes there is a lack of resources and a community of support for under-represented entrepreneurs and seeks to level the playing field. But where the community had been meeting on Wednesday nights, with quarterly new-member startup classes that cover the basics of entrepreneurship with tips on how to navigate and “WIN in Wilmington,” it’s time now to pivot.

That’s why they’re launching Camp Corona, which is offering daily speakers on Facebook with tracks on entrepreneurship, investing, real estate ownership, and programs aimed at home and life issues such as home-schooling tips for parents, mental health, and healthy eating. There will also be Zoom teleconferences, with the first webinar on obtaining SBA loans.

Camp Corona – winwilmington.com/campcorona – is free, with additional content available for WIN Factor Wealth League members on a subscription basis for $50 per month. The company says Camp Corona will be available through at least May 15, the date that the current state-mandated restrictions are scheduled to end.

Varella said the new approach enables them to attract entrepreneurs from across the state, quickly adding that while the WIN Factory – which she founded with Malcolm Coley, Newdy Felton, and Linda Watson – is black-owned it’s not “black-only, and it’s time [for Delaware businesses] to come together. Corona knows no color.”

Camp Corona includes a private Facebook group that will host its live workshops and working sessions; training on where COVID-19 relief money is available; lunch and learns; and free downloads, checklists, and guides on critical business topics.

“Our goal is to come together – virtually, of course – to support one another, hold each other accountable and get access to all of the information you need to achieve your goals during this time,” Varella said. “The one thing that everyone can say about Corona is that it has forced us to reevaluate our lives and ignite the desire for more and/or better next time around.”

By Peter Osborne


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