Local woman to compete on 'TheBlox,' an entrepreneurial docuseries created by MTV star
An anxiety-induced, early-morning wake-up call led Dash & White owner Kelsey Rasco to apply for "The Blox". It's a reality competition which pits contestants in a series of entrepreneurial exercises, pitches and tests.
FARGO — Kelsey Rasco knows firsthand that starting a new business is hard. The owner of Dash & White , a home and decor store at 4600 32nd Ave. S., told The Forum she has a houseguest that visits her at 3 a.m. every morning.
"She's called anxiety," Rasco joked.
But one early morning that anxiety led to an exciting opportunity.
"It was 3 a.m. and I saw a Facebook-sponsored ad that said 'Do you want to join the greatest reality entrepreneurial competition on earth?'," Rasco said.
The program is called "TheBlox," and it's part of AlphaBlox , a startup facility based in Kansas City, Kansas.
Applicants can be pre-startup, startup or a few years into their business. The only criteria is that the business reports less than $2 million in yearly revenue.
Rasco said she can barely remember what she wrote that morning, but she quickly moved through the application process.
"They asked me where I was at in my journey. I said, 'Well, I'm not divorced or bathing in coffee, so statistically I'm thriving.'"
Rasco uses grace and humor to cope with some of the setbacks she's endured since opening in 2019. Rasco was poised to move Dash & White to a new location in the Blu 32 development last April when she found the contractor had not performed the work as promised. She was forced to hire a new contractor to help her get the doors open.
While she said she's moved on, the incident "continues to be incredibly detrimental to us still," Rasco said.
"There is a lot that didn't get finished. My bathrooms are unfinished. My back room is unfinished. When people comment, 'Oh my God, I love your industrial floors' I'm like 'Oh, that's a trauma trigger because I didn't get to finish my floors,'" she said. "But I am joking, and it's all a part of the story now."
Rasco will compete in season 6 of "TheBlox" this week in Kansas City. The program will air on the AlphaBlox website and app as well as Google Play, Apple Play and other streaming platforms, likely in late 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, Rasco said.
Rasco describes the program as ABC's " Shark Tank " with a little drama. Each day the contestants will compete in a series of exercises, pitches and tests where they earn points. The entrepreneur with the most points at the end of the week will get an angel investment to their business.
The educational portion of the competition is perhaps what excites Rasco the most.
AlphaBlox delivers their startup curriculum, BetaBlox, through online classes and in-house incubators. Participants in "TheBlox" will go over much of that material throughout the course of filming the show.
Rasco said the founders of AlphaBlox have "done an incredible amount of research and really sifted through the things that pertain to entrepreneurs and the stuff that doesn't matter. For instance, they break a lot of myths about schooling and business plans."
Wes Bergmann, known for being a fierce competitor on 14 seasons of MTV's "Real World," "Road Rules," and "The Challenge" competitions, is the mastermind behind the reality show.
Rasco explained that Bergmann spent his time at MTV watching how the shows were produced, including what worked and what failed.
"He's very Type A and very analytical. With that, he has this immense beauty in how he teaches. He's very articulate. If anyone has a chance to research this, you can just hear his words on the website," she said.
Win or lose, Rasco said she is grateful for the support she's received from customers, friends and family.
Running a business is "incredibly hard, but it's one of the most fruitful things I can offer my children. I haven't been able to provide for my family in over three years. That's really, really hard to understand and a lot put on my husband. But on the flip side, my daughter was just sitting here ... watching TV and running around. I have a plethora of snacks and color crayons. So, they get to see me in here pursuing my dream," she said.