City of Providence Announces Microenterprise Accelerator Program

City of Providence Announces Microenterprise Accelerator Program

“Empower Providence” program in partnership with Empower by GoDaddy will provide training and resources to Providence microenterprises
group photo from event
speaker at podium

photo courtesy of David Santilli, City of Providence

photo courtesy of David Santilli, City of Providence

Friday, September 2, 2022 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: Empower by GoDaddy

CONTENT: Press Release

PROVIDENCE, R.I., September 2, 2022 /3BL Media/ - Mayor Jorge O. Elorza today joined Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President & CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association, Oscar Mejias, Chief Executive Officer of the RI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Constance Ferber, Senior Director of Strategy & Business Development, Social Enterprise Greenhouse, Keith Stokes, Director of Business Development for the City of Providence, and Kadeem Leslie, Deputy Director of the City of Providence’s Office of Economic Opportunity at Social Enterprise Greenhouse to announce a new business training program for Providence microenterprises. The Empower Providence Microenterprise Accelerator Program comprises eight weeks of business support training offered in partnership with Empower by GoDaddy. The program consists of 10 online learning modules designed to teach entrepreneurs how to build an online business and establish a marketing presence.

“Microenterprises are the backbone of our neighborhoods – they are our daycares, bodegas, food trucks, and so many other industries and businesses we rely on in our daily lives,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “Microenterprises face particular challenges due to their small size, and often, limited resources. We are excited to partner with GoDaddy and these excellent community organizations to provide new resources and skills to our community’s smallest businesses.”

The City of Providence selected the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA), the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) through a request for proposals process to recruit for and administer the training program to an anticipated 120 microenterprise businesses beginning in October 2022.

Launched in 2017, Empower by GoDaddy is GoDaddy’s global community and philanthropic program equipping entrepreneurs with training, tools and peer networks to accelerate their journeys. Entrepreneurs engage in customized learning experiences, work with GoDaddy volunteer coaches and local mentors, and gain access to wrap-around services, in-kind products and networks boosting their chances for small business success. The Empower Providence program is specifically focused on microenterprises, generally comprised of one to five employees, or sole proprietors in Providence.

“According to data from our Venture Forward research initiative, 80% of microbusiness owners who identify as people of color in the Providence area want to grow within the next year vs. 62% of microbusiness owners who do not identify as people of color, but minority entrepreneurs often face additional barriers to success, such as lack of capital, resources and networks needed to grow their businesses,” said Ebony Janelle, Empower by GoDaddy spokesperson. “Partnering locally, we can help address the lack of access to opportunity many entrepreneurs in underserved communities evidently face, and provide them with programming, mentoring and skills training that uniquely meets their needs, no matter an individual’s circumstance, or zip code. It’s through programs like the Empower Providence Microenterprise Accelerator Program that we can double down on our commitment to empowering entrepreneurs everywhere and uplift the voices that are shaping our local economies and communities.”

The three partner organizations will each conduct outreach to underserved business communities in Providence and recruit microenterprises and entrepreneurs to participate in the program, as well as lead the online business workshops and events in-person or virtually. Microenterprises who are interested in participating in the Empower Providence Microenterprise Accelerator Program are encouraged to connect directly with one of the three recruiting organizations. The Rhode Island Black Business Association can be reached by phone at 401-383-1179 or by email at info@ri-bba.org; the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce can be reached by phone at 401-400-1340 or by email at info@rihispanicchamber.org; Social Enterprise Greenhouse can be reached by phone at 401-272-2558 or by email at info@segreenhouse.org.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Providence, GoDaddy, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse on this important initiative to equip Providence’s micro-enterprises with training and resources needed to help differentiate themselves from their competitors, and increase visibility for their brand,” said Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President & CEO, Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA). “Digital presence is critically important to maximize growth by creating jobs, which can lead to sustainable wealth for generations to come.”

“At RIHCC, we are excited about this partnership with the City of Providence, as part of the program Empower Providence,” said Oscar Mejias, CEO of the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We know the needs of support and technical assistance that our microenterprise and entrepreneurs have and the partnership with GoDaddy opens up new opportunities. We appreciate and support this initiative from Mayor Elorza.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the City of Providence, RIBBA, and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on this initiative,” said Constance Ferber, Senior Director of Strategy & Business Development, Social Enterprise Greenhouse. “In this post-pandemic moment, it is more vital than ever for small businesses to create and sustain a vibrant digital presence. We, at SEG, have seen first hand the impact digital marketing can make on sole-proprietors and entrepreneurs and are excited to bring this program to life.”

The Empower Providence Microenterprise Accelerator Program is part of the City’s One Providence Small Business Assistance initiative, designed to provide direct supports to small business owners. Individuals seeking assistance or with questions can contact the City’s Small Business Coordinator, Jessie Ernster, by emailingjernster@providenceri.gov or calling 401-316-7690, in addition to calling 3-1-1.

The Empower Providence program is being funded by the City of Providence’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) federal funding. Information on all ARPA programs and projects for the City of Providence can be found at https://pvdrescueplan.com.

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About the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA)

The Rhode Island Black Business Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the business opportunities and vitality of Black-owned and minority businesses in Rhode Island through access to capital, contracting, business development resources, entrepreneur training, business advocacy, meaningful investor services and workforce development. Learn more at https://ri-bba.org/.

About the Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

The Rhode Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is an organization created to represent, promote and empower the state’s growing Hispanic business community. The Chamber strives to support the needs of local businesses and build strong relationships between corporate America and the Hispanic-owned businesses in Rhode Island. Learn more at https://www.rihispanicchamber.org/.

About Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG)

Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) accelerates impact by providing inclusive support and networks for entrepreneurs and businesses committed to positive societal and economic change. SEG fosters an ecosystem of diverse stakeholders who work to enable a more just, equitable, and resilient economy. SEG is based in Rhode Island and operates statewide virtually and from sites in Providence, Newport, and Pawtucket/Central Falls. Its network of 1,800+ enterprises and 200+ business and community leaders contributes time, expertise, and funding to grow Rhode Island’s social impact ecosystem. To learn more, visit www.segreenhouse.org.

About GoDaddy

GoDaddy is empowering everyday entrepreneurs around the world by providing all of the help and tools to succeed online and in-person. GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers, sell their products and services, and manage their work. Our mission is to give our customers the tools, insights and the people to transform their ideas and personal initiative into success. To learn more about the company, visit www.GoDaddy.com.