During their visit to Rhode Island today, Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, former governor of Rhode Island, visited Social Enterprise Greenhouse (SEG) in downtown Providence to meet local social entrepreneurs and learn about their businesses.
The entrepreneurs presenting in-person to Vice President Harris were Dr. Eugenio Fernandez, Jr., founder of Asthenis; Sandra Enos, founder of Giving Beyond the Box; Sterling Stallman, cofounder of Incred-A-Bowl; and Philip Trevvett, cofounder of Urban Greens Co-op Market.
In a “mini-pitch” modeled on SEG’s traditional pitch night presentation format, all four of them described their business mission in two minutes and answered follow-up questions.
Also in attendance were Senator Jack Reed, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman David Cicilline, and Congressman James Langevin.
SEG writes in a press release this evening that in the Vice President’s comments, she said that to grow the U.S. economy, it’s vital to consider the needs of small businesses. She emphasized that many small businesses are inherently engaged in social impact because they are such an important part of their communities, and that running a small business is usually not only about profit but also about having impact in a community and measuring success based on that impact.
“We were excited to host Vice President Harris and Secretary Raimondo and even more excited to hear how crucial impact and small business are to their agenda,” said Kelly Ramirez, CEO of SEG in a statement. “They recognize that the entrepreneurs they met, and many others that are part of SEG’s vibrant social impact ecosystem in Rhode Island and beyond, are helping our economy to become more just, equitable, and resilient.”
“I was happy to tell the VP about our future plans,” said Sterling Spellman, cofounder of Incred-A-Bowl in a statement. “We have a big vision for our Incred-A-Bowl Fresh Start program, employing people who are deemed unemployable or hard to employ. We plan to go nationwide by 2030 and give 2,500 people a chance to open their own Incred-A-Bowl and offer other people opportunities. We believe in a second chance for people to get back into the workforce so they can not only provide for themselves but help others grow personally and professionally.”
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