Today, United States Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse joined Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA), as well as Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza and Neil Steinberg, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation to announce the acquisition of 220 Smith Street to serve as the new headquarters for RIBBA and a co-working space for the city’s budding entrepreneurs looking to grow.
RIBBA’s new building, located around the corner from the State House, will serve as the Equity Business Center for local small businesses and professionals, providing co-working space and a state-of-the-art training center for members and partners of RIBBA.
RIBBA has received various funding from federal, local, and community partners to grow the organization and help advocate and promote the successful development of Black and minority-owned businesses statewide.
Senator Reed secured a federal appropriation of $1 million in the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriation Act to help RIBBA expand, deepen, and strengthen its programming, services, and outreach. Senator Whitehouse secured a $500,000 appropriation in that same act to help RIBBA acquire the new headquarters building. Additionally, the City of Providence is allocating $137,500 in US federal Rescue Plan Act funding to support the initiative. The Rhode Island Foundation is also providing $137,500 to help RIBBA’s mission to reach and support underrepresented and underserved Black-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs and help them thrive and strengthen neighborhoods and communities. communities across the state.
“It’s about strategically supporting and empowering Black entrepreneurs and startups in Rhode Island in a way that expands opportunity and builds successful businesses. Whether it’s dealing with hurdles such as lack of capital investment or overcoming other hurdles, RIBBA can help new businesses navigate the process and go from seed to flowering. It offers business tools, a network and a support system for talented and enterprising entrepreneurs to take their ideas and businesses to the next level,” said Senator Reed, Senior Member of the Appropriations Committee. “I am pleased to hand over this $1 million allocation to help more aspiring Black entrepreneurs sustainably grow their businesses and strengthen Rhode Island’s economy. This is a catalyst for entrepreneurship that will drive to stronger, more diversified and more resilient economic growth for future generations.
“I was thrilled to secure federal funding of $500,000 to help make the Rhode Island Black Business Association‘s Equity Business Hub a reality,” said Senator Whitehouse. “From this new Smith Street headquarters, the Rhode Island Black Business Association will now have the space to greatly expand the resources it provides to Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. This additional support will pay dividends to the community through job creation and business growth. »
Founded in 2011, the Rhode Island Black Business Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing business opportunity and vitality for Black and minority-owned businesses in Rhode Island through access to capital, contracts, business development resources, entrepreneur training, corporate advocacy. , meaningful investor services and workforce development.
“The purchase of these new offices is both an investment in the future of our organization and our community. The hard work and commitment of our staff, Board of Directors, partners and members enabled us to complete this acquisition from a position of growth and strength,” said Lisa Ranglin, founder, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association. “We are thrilled with what this means for our members and our community.”
“As evidenced by the findings and recommendations of our Municipal Reparations Commission, we know that creating wealth and equity through home and business ownership is essential to closing the racial wealth gap. and equity in Providence,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “The City of Providence is proud to provide these funds to help make this new headquarters and hub possible. I know that RIBBA will advance incredible work in this space, and I thank our federal delegation and the Rhode Island Foundation for their partnership.
“Minority-owned businesses are a growing and crucial segment of the state enterprise sector. This effort builds on our longstanding commitment to small business growth and jobs and to equity and inclusion as the key to economic success for all Rhode Islanders,” said Neil D. Steinberg. , President and CEO of the Foundation. “We are proud to join Senators Reed and Whitehouse, Congressman Cicilline, Mayor Elorza, Keith Stokes and community leaders in celebrating and supporting Lisa Ranglin and the work of the Rhode Island Black Business Association.”