Senators Reed and Whitehouse, Mayor Elorza and the Rhode Island Foundation Celebrate Investments of Over $1.7 Million for the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA)
PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse were joined by Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA), along with U.S. Representative David Cicilline, 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 RIBBA’s new headquarters and co-work space for budding entrepreneurs in the city looking to expand.
RIBBA’s new building, located around the corner from State House, will serve as an equity business hub for local small businesses and professionals, offering co-working spaces and a state-of-the-art training facility for RIBBA members and partners.
RIBBA has received a variety of state, local and community partner funding to grow the organization and to champion and promote the successful development of Black and minority-owned businesses across the state.
Senator Reed secured a $1 million federal grant in fiscal year 2022 to help RIBBA expand, deepen, and strengthen its programs, services, and outreach. Senator Whitehouse secured a $500,000 earmarking in the same act to help RIBBA acquire the new headquarters. In addition, the City of Providence is providing $137,500 in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act in support of the initiative. The Rhode Island Foundation is also providing $137,500 to support RIBBA’s mission to reach, support and serve black-owned small businesses and underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs thrive and strengthen neighborhoods and communities across the state.
“This is about strategically supporting and empowering black entrepreneurs and startups in Rhode Island to expand opportunity and build successful businesses. Whether it’s dealing with roadblocks such as a lack of capital investment or overcoming other hurdles, RIBBA can help new businesses navigate the process and grow from seed to bloom. It provides business tools, a network and a support system for talented, enterprising entrepreneurs to take their business ideas and ventures to the next level,” said Senator Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. “I’m excited to provide this $1 million mark to help more aspiring black entrepreneurs sustainably grow their businesses and strengthen Rhode Island’s economy. This is a catalyst for entrepreneurship that will result in stronger, more diverse and more resilient economic growth for generations to come.”
“I was thrilled to secure $500,000 in federal funding 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 significantly expand the resources it provides to Black entrepreneurs and small business owners. This additional support will reciprocate through job creation and business growth for the community.”
“Congratulations to RIBBA on this $1.7 million package of well-deserved investment,” said Congressman Cicilline. “The new Equity Business Hub will be an invaluable resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs and I can’t wait to see this space once the renovations are complete. Thank you for all the work you have already done to help build the minority-owned business community in Rhode Island. I look forward to years of your continued success.”
Established in 2011, the Rhode Island Black Business Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the business opportunity and vitality of black and minority owned businesses in Rhode Island through access to capital, contracts, business development resources, entrepreneurship education and corporate advocacy, meaningful investor services, and people development.
“The purchase of these new offices is both an investment in the future of our organization and in our community. The hard work and dedication of our employees, board of directors, partners and members has enabled us to make this acquisition from a position of growth and strength,” said Lisa Ranglin, Founder, President and CEO of Rhode Island Black Business association. “We’re excited to see what this means for our members and the community.”
“As evidenced by the findings and recommendations of our Municipal Restorative Commission, we know that building wealth and equity through home and business ownership is essential to closing the racial wealth and justice gap in Providence,” said Mayor Jorge O. Elorza. “The City of Providence is proud to provide these funds to make this new headquarters and hub possible. I know RIBBA will do incredible work in this area and I thank our federal delegation and the Rhode Island Foundation for their partnership.”
“Minority-owned companies are a growing and crucial segment of the state’s economic sector. These efforts build on our long-standing commitment to small business and job growth, and equal opportunity and inclusion as keys to economic success for all Rhode Island residents,” 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 leader Lisa Ranglin in celebrating and supporting the work of the Rhode Island Black Business Association.”
Chip Unruh (Reed), 202-224-4642
Meaghan McCabe (White House), 401-453-5294