Leaders from Rhode Island Launch Coalition to Support Underserved Business Owners
The Business Empowerment Alliance of Rhode Island (BEARI), a group aiming to increase resources and improve service to minority firms, was announced by leaders of local business support organizations.
The launch was celebrated on Thursday morning by executives from various organizations, including the Center for Women & Enterprise, the Rhode Island Black Business Association, and Social Enterprise Greenhouse.
BEARI stated that it seeks to promote women founders, founders of color, and women- and minority-owned businesses—who encounter greater obstacles than other business owners and entrepreneurs—by disseminating knowledge and establishing fresh avenues for cooperation, mentoring, and business assistance.
“The US Small Business Association Office of Advocacy’s 2023 Small Business Profile Report shows that black owned businesses are on the rise post-pandemic in the state of Rhode Island. Yet significant barriers such as access to capital, network, and resources vital to their growth and development still exist,” President and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association and BEARI Co-Chair Lisa Ranglin. “By joining forces, we can build an ecosystem of resources, and cultivate a robust network that propels businesses with the greatest needs and most opportunities to thrive.”
The group is supported by a $248,000 Rhode Island Commerce Innovation Network Matching Grant and the Small Business Administration. According to BEARI, the coalition’s five participating groups also raised $1 million over a two-year period.
“Rhode Island’s economy relies on the more than 100,000 small businesses, especially the thousands of women, veteran, Hispanic and minority-owned businesses, to keep our communities vibrant,” Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Liz Tanner said. “Providing small business owners and entrepreneurs with tools such as support services, access to capital, and networking and mentorship opportunities, enables them towards a path of success.”
According to BEARI authorities, the launch took place at the Incred-A-Bowl Food Co. in East Providence.
This East Providence company, according to BEARI, is minority owned and runs a Fresh Start program that hires “those deemed unemployable.”
“It means so much to me to host this event at Incred-A-Bowl. They are an absolute inspiration and a wonderful example of the success that businesses can achieve when they are connected with the resources, networks, and capital needed to thrive,” CEO of Social Enterprise Greenhouse and BEARI Co-Chair Julie Owens said. “That is our mission with BEARI – to work together and make those connections.”